User Experience is not one element, but the result of various components working together.
It can only be measured by the satisfaction a user gets out of interacting with a product or service.
It is also expressed as, “when a product or service delivers more than expected or delivers the same in an easier or more innovative manner”.
While in the online or virtual world we call it, “user” experience, in the real world it is also called “customer” experience.
It’s the answer to a very simple question:
“How can a business create Customer Delight”?
For e.g. what is the difference between shopping at Big Bazaar vs shopping at your local kiryana shop?
Some customers might say it’s the “Variety of Brands and Products”, “Ease of shopping for everything at one place”, “Low Costs”, “Self Service, with assistance available as and when needed”, “Air Conditioning”, etc.
If we carefully analyze the above example, its not just one aspect but a balance of all of these aspects that generated a good customer experience which made them come back for more.
Will only variety work?
Will only Low costs work?
Will only Air conditioning help?
I guess, not.
But the absence of even one of the above elements might also not work.
Similarly, in the virtual world, just a good graphic design, or just ease of use (Usability) might not work. It has to be a perfect balance of both and more.
I feel we have passed the phase where we were trying to make things easy to use or user friendly.
What today’s products and services need is more than that. They need to connect with their users at an emotional level. They need to be sensitive towards user’s needs. But not every product or service can deliver everything that a user needs. Hence, it is very important to create a business model, which will ensure that user’s specific needs are met with maximum sensitivity.
Sensitivity here for us means, envisaging user’s behavior or possible actions and designing the UI accordingly. Again, not to be confused with Intuition. Intuition promotes the ease of navigation and it’s more to do with UI elements and their placement, form, color etc.
And a very small example of sensitivity would be; “Linkedin, allows you to browse your homepage and view all updates, without logging in, but when you send an invite etc. it will ask you to enter password”.
Addresses the problem of logging in multiple time, also takes care of user’s privacy”.
A bigger example of sensitivity shown from a business model perspective would be “Cash on Delivery”. Not only does it ensure that the goods would be received on time but also the fact that the payment can be made once the customer has checked the goods. This is a big step towards building services where user’s convenience has been given more priority over cost and effort that the business will have to incur to process this. It creates a picture in user’s head, that the company is sensitive towards her needs and is willing to walk that extra mile for its customers. In the long run it will not only generate high revenue since the time to recover the money from the customer goes down as compared to when customers pay by credit card, but also creates high brand value.
It has also created a barrier for a potential competitors to come to the market and start a similar service since the brand will now have to compete with higher customer expectations, with respect to, cost, time and delivery.
What we must learn from the above example is, that the business is genuinely concerned about its customers. When customers are delighted with such services they show loyalty and also promote the brand in their own way for e.g. recommending it to friends and family.
Hence, we want to move away from the perception that User experience is just about front end design, for us its about how do you conduct your online business within your preferred business model. It must answering the following:
- Do you understand the users/customers? Have you identified the area of opportunity?
- Can you envisage what are the typical expectations?
- What are similar services delivering, are they meeting the expectations?
- How will their (User’s) problem be solved?
- How can we as business add delight to the solution apart from just solving the problem?
- What is the most effective manner of delivering the solution?
- How can they reach us if they have issues accessing the solution?
- What did they feel after using the service?
As user experience designers, we try to bring balance between business and their users; helping businesses address users’ problems in a more effective way. We also help technology and design communicate with each other by designing what the user requires and making technology understand how will it be delivered.