User experience design expert, Jacques Oberholzer, shares his insights on UX and how businesses are dealing with today’s digitally savvy customers. Jacques and show host, Julia, discuss the evolution of the field of user experience, the relationship between UX and CX and the latest trends in digital customer experiences. If you’re looking to stay abreast of the latest trends, capabilities and what’s on the horizon with digital customer experiences, then this episode is for you.
UX and CX
As more and more of the customer journey moves into the digital realm, it’s important for CX teams to understand what consumers are looking for in digital experiences. Fortunately, there is an entire field of UX specialists out there focusing on how to make great experiences in the digital space (and beyond – though a lot of emphasis is being placed on digital). This begs the question of how UX differs from CX, and how these two functions should most effectively collaborate.
Episode 56 explored the similarities and differences between UX and CX, and it was reassuring to hear a UX expert like Jacques corroborate the same key points. Essentially, we can think of both as functional areas that advocate for the needs of customers, but that UX tends to do this through the lens of a user’s experience on a specific system, platform or touchpoint. We can think of CX as a more holistic look at a customer’s overall experience, while UX zooms in on a specific subset of this.
The role of data
One of the challenges with managing experiences in the non-digital world is that we have gaps in our understanding of the customer’s experience. In a traditional retail context, for example, a retailer might only gather data about the customer at the point of sale. Information about their journey through the shop before purchase is largely unknown. Granted that might change with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), but for now we have limited insight.
That’s definitely not the case in digital space, where every click produces a data point. In our conversation, Jacques highlighted the role of data as a game changer for digital UX. Website tracking has empowered organizations and their UX experts to quickly gather insights about what customers do and don’t like. It’s also forced UX specialists – many who hearken from a creative background – to learn the language of quantitative analysis and to figure out how to integrate this into their understanding of customer needs. These insights can help teams develop great websites, but they also bring the voice of the customer into the conversation early and often, something that can be simultaneously helpful and frustrating.
Major UX trends on the horizon
Jacques and I discussed a number of UX trends that should be important considerations for CX professionals who want to help their organizations craft and deliver great digital experiences:
- The move to mobile – consumers are doing more and more on their mobiles. From streaming to social media, many experiences skip the desktop all together and are mostly experienced through mobile devices. This has advantages and disadvantages. From a design perspective, mobiles present limited space for visual engagement. On the upside, mobiles had additional sensory features, like motion sensors, that enable brands to deliver richer digital experiences which just aren’t possible on a desktop web interface.
- Hardware may drive the next wave of UX innovation – Jacques pointed out that UX innovation has probably plateaued with the current prevalent hardware (mobile phones, etc.). He thinks that hardware innovations like wearables and new phone features may dictate where UX goes next.
- The ethics of UX – Customers may be telling us that they like immersive online experiences, chatbots and tailored content, but is that actually good for them? UX designers are increasingly faced with questions of ethics and doing what’s right. Not just for the company, but for consumers. No one wants to be on the wrong side of a potential consumer backlash.
- Artificial and virtual reality – Is this the next big revolution in customer experience or just a passing fad? Only time will tell, but it’s a space to watch. There is major potential, but only if these experiences meet customer’s needs. Tech for the sake of tech won’t work.
- Be wary of feature overkill – As hardware and software capabilities evolve, it’s easy to get caught up thinking that you have to include every feature on your website or mobile app, but that’s not what users want. Often the simplest experiences are the most successful.
Insights from a user experience expert
Jacques is the founder and UX director of Now Boarding Digital, one of South Africa’s leading usability and design agencies. He is also the Head of Design at SwissBorg, a cryptocurrency investment startup in Switzerland.
Now Boarding has been servicing the South African digital landscape for 10 years, creating user experiences for the likes of innovative brands like Property 24, AutoTrader, and SnapScan, as well as a range of exciting startups in South Africa and around the globe.
Want to keep learning about CX?
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Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business define customer experience strategy that delivers results, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services or get in touch via email. To hear other episodes of Decoding the Customer, click here.