You Experience #1 – Object Of Desire

We are spoiled, ‘consumerized’ users of technology nowadays. We expect compelling, aesthetic user experiences as a default and we want to use our own, favorite devices. If that expectation is not met, we disconnect; in our role as consumers, but just as much as enterprise workers. Create desirable apps that facilitate specific tasks and contexts and hide what’s underneath. Apply Design Thinking, Gamification and Responsive Design so that the apps morph into the overall experience of clients and enterprise users. Turn your mobile app store into a candy store and enable any device.

On top of most corporate digital agendas today is digital convergence. Engaging and inspiring user experiences across all channels give products and services unprecedented reach.

Most of us have adopted smartphones, some nearly literally, and rely on a multitude of apps for both business and pleasure. For all practical purposes, the smartphone has become a remote control of life enabling us to manage everything from relationships to financial transactions. The combination of superbly designed phones and visually stunning apps reaches to the level of being a fashion statement, a statement of character and identity.

They have become objects of desire.

User experience and user interface design can be summed up in one word: beauty. Unless the apps or response sites are gorgeously designed, risks are that users will find alternatives. Functionality alone is simply not enough anymore. This means that IT now has to deal with engagement requirements being business critical.

Besides design aspects, the reasons that mobile is at the core of digital development is because it teaches us the true value of ubiquitous access to information and it enchants us with new and unexpected context-driven value. (A great example of an app that enchants the user with context-driven value using location, the phone’s camera and open data is FlightRadar24.)

In many sectors, mobile has become the new normal (most usage is driven from mobile devices), for example in the banking and travel sectors. The design trend in these sectors is clear: new-generation solutions are designed for mobile first and with a strong design ambition.

Engagement can also be accelerated using different types of relevant gamification. For example, use top lists of opted-in users based on activity, create levels of achievements, and award the highest achievers with perks and offers. (FourSquare is an example of a gamification-driven community for location check-in; you may also want to check out Badgeville for its multi-channel ‘behavior platform,’ which aims to engage both customers and employees.)

Most successful innovative and stunningly designed solutions were the result of agile design driven development. We have found the following best practices critical:

– Define and maintain scope and requirements using sketches and mockups

– Use personas and scenario maps to identify relevant contextual value

– Design style sheets and mood boards used across all digital channels

– Collect feedback from users in target groups using prototypes

To ensure that your solutions become natural members among these objects of desire, we recommend embracing four cornerstones: inspire the user, enchant with context-driven value, enable personalization and include some level of innovation.

Regardless of what solution you take on next, if it’s a mobile app, a responsive website, a Google Glass app or a Leap Motion controlled innovation, following these best practices maximizes the chances of being taken to your user’s heart, as an object of desire.

This contribution by Andreas Sjöström  

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2014 update series. See the overview here.