Capping IT Off

Capping IT Off

Where does user experience start?

Category : User Experience

A busy Jodie browsing the internet

Meet Jodie

Jodie is 42 years old and a proud of being “digitally dumb”.
You hear her say: “oh no I don’t play computer games. That's for the kids” and “I don’t understand all this soft disk and rams I’ll let Patrick handle that”.

Jodie works full time and has two children but she still manages to spend between 1 and 3 hours online every day doing all sorts of things; She buys her groceries from Tesco, chats with friends, buys books and the occasional CD, participates in hobby forums, looks after her Farmville.... Digital dumb? Jodie is far from it, she just don’t know it or won’t admit it.

Jodie does not exist; she is a persona; a fictional character representing a specific customer group. Personas are important tools in providing a realistic representation of the customers to be able to map accurate user journeys.

A traditional user journey

A user journey looks something like this:

Jodie enters the website... STOOOP stopstopstop stop!

While Jodie represents a specific customer group she does not represent the state of mind of the customers when accessing the website. This was already established by the environment they found themselves in upon access. And it can make a big difference.

A fairly simple example can demonstrate this quite effectively. What if we change the start to:

  • Jodie enters the website from her work computer
  • Jodie enters the website from her laptop
  • Jodie enters the website from her mobile phone
The technology used already triggers trends in user behaviour and so does the physical environment she finds herself in.

At work Jodie would be more inclined to get her personal shopping completed with before the boss finds out. A quick buy’n’run.

On her own laptop she will have more time to explore and learn, maybe even jump between a range of online tasks including socialising. She would also potentially have the time to be susceptible to more time-consuming customer relationship building exercises such as tips, recipes or videos.

While browsing on her mobile, with fellow passengers disturbing her online experience, her motives would be quite different. Shopping at Tesco on a mobile she might just choose what she has bought before to get the basic stock in the fridge.

Knowing what Jodie did online before she even came to the site can also be beneficial. If we know she came via a price comparison website, we can assume she has been looking at our competitors and can leverage that by encouraging her to take a photo of her old competitor branded item in the bin for a 10% discount.

Where does the user experience stop?

In a previous blog post I have covered how user experience and brand experience need to work together.

After Jodie has left the website the over-arching customer experience doesn’t – and shouldn’t – stop. Her goods need to be delivered and she may need to go back to the website to engage with the company, possibly because of a faulty item, possibly to buy accessories.

On paper this would be a natural place start a new user journey, but it is important to remember it is the same person covering multiple user journeys and the memory of Jodie and what she did need to be retained and reused for the best customer experience and for the least resource demanding funnel.

And recognising Jodie when she returns is a great way of giving her a personalised experience making her feel that the brand is aware of her.

Thinking pre and post

So am I saying we should create user journeys of a persona's entire life?

No, but thinking about what happens before and after beyond the limitations of the defined user journey will give valuable insights into what will help and support the users when they enter the environments we create for them to perform a specific task.

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