February 23, 2009
Good service is one of those experiences most of us recognize when we get it. Much of the time though, a good service experience is as much a result of how learnable the provider makes its business processes, the context of the service, as it is the products and services themselves. I discussed this a couple of years ago in a post on the importance of a dialogue strategy for customer experience management. A dialogue strategy builds on the assumption that companies learn more from customers when customers learn from them. More recently I noted that,
The increasing maturity and diffusion of social media over the ensuing years makes it clear that a dialogue strategy provides a coherent framework for communications, whether addressing collaboration, innovation, marketing, sales, support, or branding. The key to the process is understanding customers, attracting them, engaging them, and learning from them to improve products and services, thereby strengthening your brand…
Strategists increasingly recognize that listening to customers, engaging them in dialogue, and acting on what is learned lies at the heart of experience design’s relevance to brands, customers, and social media.
These insights are relevant to the current shift in focus for experience design, from primarily emphasizing the design of products to also emphasizing the design of services, as exemplified in Peter Merholtz’s recent series in Harvard Business online. Okay, you may ask, how does this all relate to eLearning and learnability?
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September 25, 2008
I don’t usually discuss books or reports without contextualizing the discussion. However, I’ve just begun reading a book that merits mention before digesting how it fits either strategically or tactically with experience design issues.
Skilful Minds first discussed virtual anthropology several years ago noting the following.
The term points to the ability of customer researchers to now tap into the stories about personal experience that increasing numbers of people are providing online…But, keep in mind that the people offering their stories and experiences for your edification are not doing it for you.
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August 27, 2008
We initially discussed place-based stories back in 2006, noting the way [murmur] provided people experiencing a place to add a story about their engagement with it. To listen to the stories, visitors to that place simply called a number on their mobile device.
I was reminded of the [murmur] service this past weekend while walking through the Missouri Botanical Gardens(MoBot) here in St. Louis. MoBot is hosting the Niki exhibit, showing forty mosaic sculptures done by Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002). Each sculpture is assigned a unique number that corresponds to an audio message for that work. For example, La Cabeza information is available at (314) 558-4357 11#.
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July 20, 2008
Adam Silver, a Strategist at Frog Design, recently wrote an insightful article, “Calculated Design”, in the company’s online magazine — design mind. I want to discuss the article because it touches on several key issues relating to innovation and designing products and services for the experience of users/customers. Adam notes that as globalization and digitalization emerged in the 1990s the trend resulted in product and service interfaces with more culturally diverse and geographically distributed audiences and a fragmented market. The combination of these forces led designers to search for new methods to augment artistic intuition. Considerations of form and function also required attention to feel, features, and interactivity attuned to the needs, wants, and beliefs of specific users/customers.
As Adam observes, ethnography was one of the first new methods incorporated by design research to meet these challenges in the market. However, he thinks ethnography is, on its own, unable to provide the kind of information needed to validate product and service ideas across wide audiences. Read the rest of this entry »
July 9, 2006
Rachel Jones, founder of the UK user-centered design company Instrata reports in Usability News on research her company recently finished asking what mobile phone users in the United Kingdom and Europe over the age of 30 want in a product. She makes the following observations about the customer segments for mobile phones above the age of 30:
Some are technically advanced, using a range of other gadgets but with purpose and quality as their motivation. They primarily want to use their mobile for calls and texts, e.g. businesspeople communicating on the move – and would choose a simpler model over others, but only if it has the right look. They won’t use a mobile camera unless the photo quality is equivalent to their digital cameras, and so convergence will only be of interest if quality is undiminished.
Others may be uncomfortable with technology, but don’t want to advertise the fact. They often give up on mobiles, which come to live at the back of the desk drawer or in the bottom of the handbag.
Many potential customers just wish for a phone that is user friendly, and rate this as much more important than any other factor. Many in all groups have had free upgrades to phones that no longer suit their needs, and which have then caused unanticipated frustrations.
As Jones correctly notes, many customers want increasingly sophisticated functions in their mobile phones. Yet, as she adds, ” When phones are created for the older market they do not have the styling or personalisation that these consumers want, or if they do, the marketing concentrates on what they feel are the more patronising aspects of improved usability instead of innovation.” In other words, customers over 30 want mobile phones with simple features that provide a pleasant look and feel.
Jones research raised my interest because it provides insight into a basic change occurring in the mobile phone market. Read the rest of this entry »
June 9, 2006
I started reading The Persona Lifecycle by John Pruitt and Tamara Adlin over the past week, all 700 plus pages. The book provides a detailed overview of how to use personas, though mostly focused on interactive applications such as web design and software. I cannot review the whole book here, largely because of its length, but also because it does not seem like a book the authors designed for people to read through. It is more like a nicely woven set of concepts, practical insights, and toolkits around the topic of personas. In addition, it provides five original contributions, as individual chapters, by well-known authorities in user centered design. Read the rest of this entry »
January 2, 2006
Three of the four people in my household own an IPod, with yours truly the only holdout. I love what the device does, but since I first toyed with my wife’s, I’ve been reluctant to buy my own. Why? Well, I just found it cumbersome to use without knowing exactly the reasons. Finally, someone who uses one on a regular basis took the time to think about why people like me find IPods too difficult to use. Thanks to Mobile Community Design for their analysis of the issue.