Focus on people- their lives, their work, their dreams. – Google design principle
Nice idea. But how exactly do we translate this into creating compelling user experiences?
We in the UX world used to talk about digital journeys and joining up the different touchpoints in those journeys for better customer experiences. But now we need to go beyond just the ‘Digital’ journey and be aware of all the touchpoints or interactions our customer have with our products; whether it be digital or physical, or on-line or off. Only then will we get a better understanding of how customers engage with our brand and how other events in their lives impact that engagement. Only then that we can take a step closer to understanding their dreams.
How can we get this understanding? Walk a mile in our customers’ shoes
What we need to know about our customers:
- What are they doing with our product? The basics; How and when do customers engage with us; how many times and which product features do they use when. What is a typical journey? Is it all online or does some of it happen in store etc.? Which device to they use for each particular part of the journey?
- How did they get there? What were they doing beforehand that led them to our product; what were the triggers? And what did they do, where did they go, afterwards?
- What other products/services are they using? The most common user experience is a multi-site one. What other tabs has your customer got open while engaging with your website or what else are they doing on their mobile phone? What other products is your brand competing with? What else is competing for your user’s attention?
- What are your customers doing in social media? Never before has our online identity been so closely connected with our personal identify. What we say or do online represents what we stand for; what we believe in or don’t believe in. How are your customers engaging with your brand through social media?
- What are they doing off-line? Very few services exist in a vacuum online these days. Successful companies are the ones who understand their customers’ offline experience and how best to meld this with their online services. It’s interesting to note that even Amazon, one of the biggest online companies in the world has recently opened up a ‘bricks and mortar’ store. What is going on, off-line that is impacting your customer’s experience?
- What are your customers thinking and feeling? We may all consider ourselves rational beings but when it boils down to it, its emotion that we all base alot of our decisions on. How do your customers feel when using your product? Which parts of the journey elicit the most emotion? And is it good or bad? Where are these ‘moments of truth’ in the journey; moments that elicit that emotion? And what can you do about them?
- What parts of the experience is working well and which are not? Which parts of your customer journey is working well and which parts are not? Are there any areas in the journey where something is broken, incomplete or missing? Or is there some interesting activity happening in an area you were unaware of – a ‘white space’ somewhere, that can provide opportunity for creativity and growth?
How to… join up the dots…
We have in our UX Tool box, a host of different methods such as Customer Journey maps, Personas, empathy maps etc. which can help us describe what is going on in our customers’ lives. Using these to describe and map what is going on is useful because:
- It helps us start thinking about our customers and their experience in a more holistic way
- It allows us interrogate how our organisational goals align with customer needs and identify gaps
- It helps draw out and share company knowledge about customers, which we can then test/add to by research
- It affords us a better understanding of the customer experience and in particular areas that are not working so well. This helps us identify areas for improvement and innovation
- It provides useful visualisations of who are customers are and what their experience is like, which we can share and discuss. This helps keep the customer at the forefront of decision making
Useful resources on mapping your customer journey.
Google and how to start thinking about ‘Micro moments’
UX Mastery on how to create a Customer Journey map
How to run an Empathy & User Journey Mapping Workshop from Harry Brignull
How we do it at User Vision
Moving towards more compelling user experiences. Understanding “Moments that matter”
We need to think about:
- Moving away from product thinking to consider the whole experience. According to Air Bnb Head of Design Alex Schleifer, “You need to bring your tool forward when it’s most needed, and hide it when it’s not. And then you need to build the transition from the digital world to the real world”.
- Moving away from thinking about interactions and understand more about the emotional connection you can create. What are the ‘moments of truth’ or “moments that matter” in your customers’ experiences. How can you own that moment, what value can you add?
- Moving away from digital first and even mobile first design thinking, to thinking ‘context’ first. Really understanding what is going on when customers engage with our products and empathising with their needs at different stages of that journey will help us design products and experiences that truly connect to our customers lives and dreams.