We live in a world where your smartphone knows when you'll be home to turn on the heating and reminds you to take an umbrella when it's raining. Technology makes our lives easier and more efficient. This may seem like an obvious statement, but what is becoming increasingly apparent, is the merging boundary between products and services, allowing them to become integrated experiences. As a result, user-centricity has become more important and is where design can really make a difference during digital transformation.
To create a successful user experience, we need first to understand the underlying needs of potential users in their environments, and second, to turn this knowledge into storytelling. This means focussing on mapping a customer journey and deciphering what satisfies and what deters them, rather than merely advancing technology on the latest product.
Millennials are not only the world's largest consumer group, but are also the most powerful. For them, a good user experience is no longer a unique selling point, but instead an expectation. Only the insufficient, old-fashioned UX will stand out, and not in a positive way. If the UX is bad, the consumer will discard the experience instantly and the product with it.
But what is the key to creating a truly memorable UX to drive sales?
As humans, we are programmed to be captivated by stories. In fact, storytelling pre-dates writing. For example, aboriginals in Australia told stories with illustrations on cave walls, and tattoos told stories of status and experience in many different cultures. When we hear a story, the neural activity in our brain increases rapidly, meaning that we are able to remember it much more than facts. Therefore storytelling through UX will create a competitive edge.
It is also clear that smart devices are closing the gap between humans and the way we experience digital products and services. IoT has connected us to the world more than ever before. Siri and voice-command design, Touch ID, Face Recognition and VR suggests an ever-stronger connection between humans and technology. People expect and need technology to seamlessly weave into their human lives.
Through UX storytelling, customers will have a much greater, positive response in terms of being able to navigate a platform intuitively and remembering the experience they have. Take chatbots, for example, which are purely a conversation-based experience. Every word bots use must be carefully chosen for the conversation to flow naturally. This proves that UX design is no longer just a layout of information, but must consider how user friendly and understandable the information is; especially as millennials demand information immediately and are not willing to wait even 5 seconds for a webpage to load. If UX does not facilitate the immediacy of information, it cannot keep up with modern development and the needs of today.
This highlights the importance of designing for experiences and not to design features specifically. It allows the company to stay relevant and ensure the product fits the market. This is especially important for companies undergoing digital transformation. 'Digital' is not something to be achieved but a state of being that's always evolving in line with the market. Rather than overlooking the role of the customer, digital transformation should focus on their user experience to ensure that digital weaves seamlessly into human experience. A digital transformation must be user-centric with a focus on storytelling through user experience.