You Experience #2 – Object Of Desire
Successful online services are beautiful experiences. Digital beauty is expressed in intelligence, context relevance, and visually stunning aesthetics. True user enchantment comes from empowerment brought by both predictable essentials and unexpectedly innovative features. In the era of the connected customer, there are no shortcuts for enchanting the user across all digital touchpoints. We have come to expect digital beauty. When that expectation isn’t met, we disengage both in our role as consumers or enterprise workers.
Digital touchpoints surround us more intensely today than ever before. Just about everything around us is becoming a digital touchpoint and as such everything can become an object of desire, with the ability to transform users into fans that are the most loyal advocates any organization could wish for.
We rely on a multitude of digital services for business and pleasure; from responsive sites and smartphone apps, to features in connected watches, wearables, cars, office and home interior… some connected touchpoints don’t even have screens. Ordinary everyday things around us get connected, driving our information behavior even further. As connectivity reaches even deeper and wider, so does customer engagement. The importance of innovative amazing user experience increases rapidly.
For all practical purposes, mobile devices and wearables have become the remote controls of life, enabling us to manage everything from relationships to financial transactions. Expectations are extremely high and competition, fierce. If the customers’ needs or expectations are not met, they’re likely to leave and find other options with a single tap — or more appropriately in the era of No Keyboard, the blink of an eye.
For instance, a recent survey in the insurance industry — typically assumed to having a slow-moving customer base — found that even the majority of deeply engaged customers would consider switching insurers on the basis of an improved online experience.
Significant business opportunities are clearly in reach, as deepened ubiquitous engagement drives revenue and improves customer loyalty. But the danger in this age is that not acting will alienate your customers and will seriously endanger your continuity.
Engaging and inspiring user experience across all channels, physical and digital, give products and services unprecedented attraction and reach. Digital convergence, stunningly crafted – where technology becomes seductive – is a key priority in Digital Transformation agendas. This means designing a coherent omni-channel experience around every individual customer, crafting a true You Experience.
User experience and user interface design, driven by Service Design Thinking, is about creating what’s relevant and engaging. For a customer moving around in a connected world, context is what drives relevancy. Context is defined by a number of characteristics: location, proximity to places and sensors, preferences, past behavior, interactions in social networks, and so on.
Digital touchpoints need to demonstrate immediate value, prioritize core functionality, and dynamically organize content, so it’s relevant to the user’s context. In a You Experience, it’s all about meeting immediate and personalized needs.
The road to success? Here are ten practices that will help you focus on the characteristics defining innovative digital beauty: intelligence, context relevance, and visually stunning aesthetics:
– Use Service Design Thinking to create relevant personas and customer journey maps to better understand your user. This approach helps you to intelligently facilitate specific tasks in different contexts, while hiding complexity underneath.
– Define what and when is relevant in terms of information and functionality to each user. So-called mobile moments modeling provide defines features that change appearance depending on context, will enchant users.
– Define and maintain scope and requirements using sketches and mock-ups to ensure consistent aesthetics.
– Apps on any platform, and on any screen size as well as no screen, or responsive sites need to be gorgeously designed. Functionality alone isn’t enough. Design consistent style sheets and mood boards used across all digital channels.
– Continuously and actively work with feedback from users that are invited to pilot target groups using prototypes based on “Minimum Viable Product” scope, enabling user validation of intelligence, context relevance, and design.
– Successful intelligent and stunningly designed solutions are more often than not the result of agile design-driven development. Apply iterative development methodology such as Scrum.
– Intelligence and context relevance is often enabled when developing connectivity with other connected things or services in open ecosystems of data. When looking from the objective of the consumer, an experience does not necessarily stop at the boundaries of your organization. This creates ample opportunity for partnering in API based ecosystems to jointly serve the needs of customers.
– To create an edge in a competitive market, be serious about innovation. Digital leaders are superior in creating digital beauty which is highly innovative and radically different from competitors.
– Regardless how beautifully you design a service, if it doesn’t work it won’t drive any value. Automated omni-channel testing, meaning testing functionality across all platforms everywhere, is critical. Invest appropriately in quality assurance expertise.
– Never stand still. Once you have delivered, prepare to iterate again, even the same day. DevOps practices will help your organization accelerate time to market by bringing stakeholders, developers, and operations much closer.
Regardless of what solution is taken on next, if it’s an app, a responsive website, or a connected thing somewhere, following these best practices maximizes the chances of being taken to the user’s heart, as an object of desire.
Expert: Andreas Sjöström
Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2016 update series. See the overview here.