Third-party platforms add features, functions, and improved performance to an existing product, website, or application but it can be challenging to integrate them into an existing experience seamlessly.
Whenever you integrate a third-party application, there are generally three challenges:
- How to visually align the design with your brand.
- How to incorporate the feature so it feels like part of the original site.
- How to capture all the data from the third-party app so your data and analytic reports tell the whole story.
Let’s break down some ways to increase your success with third-party application integrations.
Choose Flexible Tools
When shopping for a third-party product, explore your customization options up front. Evaluate flexibility to brand or style the integration alongside its core feature set. Many third-party tools require extensive coding to customize the look and feel to blend with an existing experience.
Other tools offer limited configurations like the ability to change typeface or logo but not the background or text colors, for example. And still others are fully customizable. Know up front what you’re buying and factor in the cost to get the right look and feel for your product.
Look for tools with flexible APIs and code libraries, too, so you can easily integrate them into your product’s existing flows and capture the right data along the way.
Consistency ties directly into UX excellence. When working on integrating a third-party feature, try to create interaction patterns consistent with the rest of the website.
If an integration requires input, like radio buttons for survey responses, design the integration survey in a way that is similar to other surveys on your website. If the integration is a fit tool for retail clothing, be sure to present variant controls for size labels like small, medium, and large or even numeric sizes, the same way you would on a product page.
People generally rate familiar experiences high in terms of satisfaction and usability so keep the interactions consistent throughout.
Focus on People
Technology is often the primary driver behind third-party integrations because, let face it, new technology is cool. It may also be cheaper to buy the latest feature than build it.
But sometimes a feature is more and less than what your customers need. It only makes sense to integrate technology if it provides explicit value to both business and end-users.
Before choosing a solution based on features and technology innovations, assess how it will service your users and add value to your overall experience.
Integrate with Care
Valuable integrations can speed up the development and enhance user experiences, but only when you keep UX/UI at the forefront of your approaches and workflows.
Before you start an integration initiative, align creative and technical teams behind a clear set of practices, principles, and measurable goals.
Choose relevant, flexible tools, ensuring they are customizable to your branding and workflow needs. Follow design system principles and code with care to keep your users and product team happy.
The Impact of Third-Party Integrations
Extending your feature set with third-party applications grows your product and lowers your total cost of ownership. By following these tips, you can ensure your integration will enhance rather than undermine your product’s UX.
If you need help with designing and implementing a third party tool or capability, reach out to Kelly Rader, VP Digital Experience, Object Edge.