You Experience #2 - Object Of Desire
Nowadays, we are spoiled ‘consumerized’ users of technology. 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, both in our role as consumers and equally as enterprise workers. Therefore, 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.
In the age of the customer, there are no shortcuts for enchanting the user across all digital touch points. True enchantment comes from an amazing user experience, implemented in context-relevant functionality and stunning visual design. In those rare cases, an app becomes an object of desire and customers become fans and the most loyal advocate of an organization.
But expectations are extremely high and competition fierce. If the customers’ needs or expectations are not met, they are likely to leave and find other options with a single keystroke – 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 the majority of even deeply engaged customers would consider switching insurer on the basis of an improved online experience alone.
Significant business opportunities are clearly in reach as deepened ubiquitous engagement drives revenue and improves customer loyalty. But the flip side of the coin is that not acting in this new age customer obsession will possibly alienate your customers and will seriously challenge your continuity.
We rely on a multitude of online services, ‘responsive’ web sites and apps, for business and pleasure. For all practical purposes, mobile devices and wearables have become remote controls of life, enabling us to manage everything from relationships to financial transactions. Ordinary everyday things around us get connected driving even further our information behavior. As connectivity reaches even deeper and wider, so does customer engagement with it. The importance of amazing user experience increases rapidly.
Engaging and inspiring user experience across all channels, physical and digital, give products and services unprecedented attraction and reach. Digital convergence, stunningly crafted, 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 is about creating that what is relevant and engaging. For a customer moving around in a connected world, context is what drives relevancy. Context is defined by a number of things: location, proximity to places and sensors, preferences, past behavior, interactions in social networks and so on.
Digital touch points 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.
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. Badgeville should be checked out for its multi-channel ‘behavior platform,’ which aims to engage both customers and employees.
The road to success? Creating winning solution concepts starts by understanding what and when is relevant in terms of information and functionality. In so-called mobile moments users can be enchanted by providing features that change appearance depending on context. Connectivity with other connected things or services in open ecosystems of data can further enhance the experience.
Apps on whatever platform and screen size - or responsive sites - need to be gorgeously designed. Functionality alone is not enough, not even when it’s really context-relevant. Customer engagement and user experience requirements have become business critical. Most successful innovative and stunningly designed solutions were the result of agile design-driven development. Focus on context and dynamic content, not on chrome. But most importantly focus on the task at hand.
Furthermore, consider these three key rules to creating successful user engagement :
- Focus on more than performance and functionality: know when and why a mobile solution is needed and how to make it fit for purpose.
- Prioritize end user testing and feedback: testing mobile solutions is essential for a robust multichannel experience.
- Link to the required information and systems: no digital interface- no matter how well designed - will succeed if it’s not tightly integrated with back-office systems.
And finally, among the organizations that are successfully creating objects of desire, the following working best practices emerge:
- Use personas and scenario maps to identify relevant contextual value.
- Define and maintain scope and requirements using sketches and mockups.
- Design consistent style sheets and mood boards used across all digital channels.
- Collect feedback from users in target groups using prototypes.
Regardless of what solution is taken on next, if it’s an app, a responsive website, or a wearable, following these best practices maximizes the chances of being taken to the user’s heart, as an object of desire.
Your expert: Andreas Sjöström
Part of Capgemini's TechnoVision 2015 update series. See the overview here.