My newest version of the digital experience talk, for the Ugame Ulearn conference in Delft, Netherlands.
Today I&#x2019;m going to talk about digital experience -
- what it is
- examples of it in action
- tips on how you can improve digital experiences for your customers [click]
These days, people aren&#x2019;t just looking to buy STUFF. You can get stuff at walmart (Hema in the Netherlands?)
Good customer service is also expected - this doesn&#x2019;t really impress us anymore.
We can get stuff and good customer service anywhere.
Instead, we&#x2019;re going one further, and are buying an experience.
Think about a restaurant. You can go to McDonalds to buy a sandwich. Or you can go to Applebee&#x2019;s and buy a better, larger, tastier sandwich with better service. Or you can go to the Hard Rock Cafe, and have a rock & roll experience ... and get a meal along with it.
That&#x2019;s buying an experience.
The doll, right? But not just dolls.
We visited the Chicago Am Girl Place - shopping, museum-like displays, a musical, tea-time, get your doll&#x2019;s hair done (and a gameboy for the boys) ... all the books ...
Website - games, ecards
american girl is all about the experience....
And, of course, on getting more of my money&#x2026;
Harley Davidson site - events, factory tours, ride planner, rider education, maps, etc...
What&#x2019;s missing? Actually buying a motorcycle! It&#x2019;s all about what to do with your motorcycle &#x2013; guided experiences!
Now that I&#x2019;ve intro&#x2019;d you to digital experience design, I&#x2019;d like to introduce three concepts, or paths, to designing digital experiences
very different from each other, but all focused on providing an experience:
structural, community, customer paths.
let&#x2019;s start with the structural path. What is it?
creating a better experience by improving a website&#x2019;s ease-of-use.
Great customer experiences happen when customers can focus on their own goals, rather than on how to navigate your site.
3 different approaches to experience through structure
#1: Jesse James Garrett - his elements of user experience - excellent book
- explores a structured process of digital creation
Start at the bottom, and move up: strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface (very briefly what each area is)
from start to finish, or strategy to surface
logical and linear
got a mullet thing going on (erik???) - business in the front, party in the back...
two very important focuses - business needs and customer needs.
Business - what does the library need to get out of the site
customer - great experiences, keep them focused (on buying stuff)
#2 - David Armano&#x2019;s Experience Map
5 steps: Uncover (customer needs, org needs), Define (experience brief - not a functional specs document!), Ideate (immersion), Build, and Design
#3: 37signals book - they don't focus on logical steps, but they do tackle experience design - go read it - lots of good stuff here!
- Don&#x2019;t write a functional specifications document
- instead, dive in - brainstorm, paper sketches, build a prototype, then code it... goal is speed!
- fine-tuning is done by customers
- if you do need a directional document... write a story! that experience brief again ...
Simplify - google docs as example
Here&#x2019;s what the structured path looks like for Topeka
we&#x2019;re going through a website redesign right now
lots of planning before building our new site
focus groups, discussions - customer and staff needs
focused on customers and staff needs
think about what makes people stumble - and work on removing that stuff the bumps and potholes ... and fix those things.
Goal - want to turn on the light
- you don't want to think about breakers, which way you have to flip the switch, etc...
a well-designed digital experience should, in most cases, stay out of the user&#x2019;s way
kathy sierra (creating passionate users) explains this well
I think this is usually the goal - focusing on you - not on &#x201C;cool features&#x201D;
Big goal &#x2013; customer doesn&#x2019;t want to think about your site&#x2019;s structure&#x2026; I want to think about my stuff!!!
Do your job well, and your customer will be able to focus on their stuff, without distraction
So that was structured path - how about focusing on community next?
a community focus is created through online participation and community
here&#x2019;s one example - a conference (2009 UGUL).
I heard there were stormtroopers.
What&#x2019;s going on? Conversations are taking place: traditional conversations, formal &#x201C;listen to the speaker&#x201D; conversation, Q&A types of conversations. There are discussions during breaks and jokes over a cup of coffee.
How about a digital version?
Amazon&#x2019;s customer reviews and the ability to rate the reviews.
- One review is interesting - ability to read 100 reviews of a single book is what really turns this into a community-focused experience. didn&#x2019;t exist before the web.
and is a great example of digital community-focused experience
5 ways to do this: real conversation, invitation, participation, sense of familiarity, & telling our stories ... let&#x2019;s look at each of these ...
Real conversations taking place
Happens in a variety of ways - commenting on blogs and other areas of a Web site - through services like instant messaging or micro-blogging sites like Twitter - An online forum is another way to hold conversations.
- the slide shows my library&#x2019;s myspace, youtube, flickr, and blog comments
- The goal/challenge with conversation in digital spaces is to allow your customers to connect with you and with others.
- Connecting with you is important. Your customers want to interact with you. they do it in your buildings, on the phone, and want to do it digitally too
- They also want to connect with each other. book review comments on my website
So - think customer reviews of books in catalog, comments on various websites and services... real conversation.
invite people to interact
Content enablers focus on making content compelling - Displaying content, Creating compelling content, Using action-oriented titles on posts, Including links with posts
Web tool enablers focus on making content accessible and usable - Allowing commenting, Moderating promptly, Including RSS feeds
this type of Participation is extremely important in providing community-focused experience. No participation, no community!
Comments on my lib&#x2019;s website:
- goal is to participate in the discussion - comment box allows individuals to share thoughts and opinions with each other
- In essence, you are telling your customers &#x201C;I want you to add your thoughts. I want you to continue the conversation. I want you to participate.&#x201D; Here&#x2019;s an example from a blog.
Commenting/walls/friending - all ways to participate in a digital community.
sense of familiarity - outgrowth of participation and invitation
flickr - anyone connected to a friend through flickr?
Even subscribing to a blog will lead to some type of familiarity, since you are reading/viewing something the person has created.
Same with a library - organizational familiarity. patrons read/watch/view our library thoughts, our stuff, and see our organization&#x2019;s personality... they become familiar with the library.
Pretty cool concept
What&#x2019;s so important about telling stories?
people want to know &#x201C;the story.&#x201D; They want to know who U are &#x2013; what your credentials are, what else you&#x2019;ve developed, and if you like using the product... and what shortcuts you take when using it.
People want to participate in the story. They want to feel like they are part of the story, like they are the next chapter. This happens currently in gaming. Flickr also allows you to visually participate in the story.
People want to continue the story. they want to add their own stuff.
lib stories - what you liked/didn&#x2019;t like - what you read - what the library reads, does, etc... video etc.
One example using twitter. twitter is all about extending our reach into the community:
1. experience of community - we tell patrons about events, cool things in the library, etc
2. answer questions - where can I return book, late fees, etc
value-added via community tools
Here&#x2019;s what we&#x2019;re doing on the community path. We&#x2019;re connecting to our patrons in many ways, including (read slide).
With all of these, the goal isn&#x2019;t to use the new tool. It&#x2019;s to hold conversations, to connect with the community, and to participate.
Finally, the 3rd path - focusing on the customer.
anyone do this last night?
OK - you can actually search Flickr for Bed Jumping ...
And you find pics of people hovering over their beds!
last 10 years or so, there has been a &#x201C;hotel bed revolution&#x201D;
Starwood Hotels & Resorts were the first to focus on providing ultra-comfortbale beds. They created the &#x201C;Westin Heavenly Bed&#x201D; which prompted other hotels to focus on the guest sleep experience.
Well, duh!!!!!! Why wouldn&#x2019;t a hotel do that? Gee...
Another example - SportClips Anyone here use them?
Sport Clips recognized there were no &#x201C;just-for-guys&#x201D; hair salons. So they made a haircutting place for men who like sports.
watch sports on big-screen TVs while getting his hair cut
The waiting lounge resembles a locker room and has sports-themed magazines
interior features sports-themed d&#xE9;cor, and there&#x2019;s even sports memorabilia for sale
Sport Clips isn&#x2019;t just providing a haircut &#x2013; every salon does that. Instead, they&#x2019;re providing a sports-themed, TV-watching haircutting experience. The actual haircut is just part of the complete experience.
what&#x2019;s this look like digitally? Examples...
Webkinz - secret code/Webkinz World - games, feed your pet, set up a room for your pet, buy things for your pet with virtual money, and chat with other pet owners
- extend their brand into your home. It also allows pet owners to extend the fun they have with their pet.
Starbucks - extend your coffee aficionado experience, on the Starbucks Web site. You can find out about Starbucks coffee.
Coffee taste matcher &#x2013; to help find your &#x201C;personal taste&#x201D; of coffee
Education on tasting coffee &#x2013; how to&#x2019;s, what you should notice, etc. &#x2013; very similar to wine tasting
Information on grinding methods
The history of coffee and Starbucks
Coffee bean growing regions
extended the Starbucks experience online through content and sales
What do webkinz, starbucks, & harley davidson have in common? They are all working to extend their physical presence into digital spaces, which involves thinking differently about the Web sites.
Focus on the Show - or staging experiences.
- holding pre- or post-shows for the &#x201C;main event&#x201D; (buying the thing).
- Starbucks post-show includes detailed info on the coffee you just purchased
- libraries - group read, then discuss on web - event is checking book out - post show is the discussion. Pre-show = book review?
- Most people don&#x2019;t really want to interact with information, or with a Web site. They want to interact with other real live people!
- Webkinz - meet stuffed virtual pet, also meet other pet owners
- harley - events, ride planners - goal is to meet people (and enjoy the motorcycle)
- creates a digital community connection.
Not About the Product - the site isn&#x2019;t about &#x201C;the product itself - It&#x2019;s more the experience around the product.
- Webkinz World, for example, doesn&#x2019;t focus on getting kids to buy more Webkinz pets
- The site&#x2019;s goals focus on interaction with the pets and other owners
- It&#x2019;s about extending that physical experience into the digital space in a way not really possible in the physical space.
Goal here is to provide great customer experiences.. online.
Two ways to do this [click]
buying a car - The first step in the car-buying journey isn&#x2019;t visiting the showroom - usually some preceding steps - like a blown head gasket on your current vehicle
Customer journey mapping ... maps out touch points &#x2013; figure out each time a customer &#x201C;touches&#x201D; or interacts with, your organization - does 2 things:
provides insight into customer needs &#x2013; how they feel during each experience, and how library should treat its customers during each interaction.
provides customer focus - who is in the center - customers or staff?
Customer journey mapping helps turn interactions around so customers are the center of the experience
So - customer journey mapping of a library catalog search
- before the search - where are they? Home? How did they get to your site? At the lib? How are your PCs? Links on the PC?
- starting search - where can they start? Is it easy to see and use? Familiar?
What do I do next? Probably click on a book/title... that&#x2019;s ugly, but straightforward
point out sound recording - probably not what they wanted...
How about the next step of the journey? How do I put it on hold? Click the red Holdings word? No... maybe click request item... ???
Here? Ick. What do I do? What is this? Can&#x2019;t we do something with this white space?
We still have some work to do!
But don&#x2019;t blame your ILS dude for this, because we CAN change some things ...
For example ...
We added simple &#x201C;what do I do here&#x201D; instructions
and a map.
They can make it pretty - you should personalize it
Wd40 &#x2013; the straw! chat about it for a sec...
So, how can we improve the ordinary experiences people have on our websites?
- figure out what &#x201C;ordinary&#x201D; means for our site. Poke around the major features and touch points of your site.
- Is there a way, if you were going to build it from scratch, that you could improve the user&#x2019;s experience?
Think through these questions, and you&#x2019;re bound to find a way to improve your site.
I&#x2019;d also suggest comparing your site to sites in other industries. I look at sites that my actual customers use. (ie., Facebook, Amazon, and eBay). Then we can look at the experience provided on those pages, figure out how to translate those experiences and those functions into a library Web site, and work backwards from there. This allows the web team to move from the ordinary (a normal library Web site) to the extraordinary (well, that&#x2019;s the goal anyway).
Bananas. The stickers. Do you have brand name stickers on your bananas?
They&#x2019;re boring! and usually ignored.
But they don&#x2019;t have to be.
They&#x2019;ve turned a boring brand name sticker into something that&#x2019;s fun - people are enjoying these stickers - and the brand - and the bananas ... in new ways.
Enjoying the brand.
Having FUN with the brand. collecting the brand/stickers ... Interacting in a new way ... with the brand.
All because they took their brand name stickers ... and improved the ordinary.
We&#x2019;ve talked about three paths to a digital experience - structure, community, and customer paths.
What do we do with that?
connect the customer...
to your stuff. Books. Databases. Staff.
To the extras. Facebook. Flickr. Stuff that&#x2019;s part of your library, part of your interaction, but not on the traditional website.
to other customers. This happens in many ways, including blogs, photos, videos, microblogs like twitter, or even a discussion forum. These sites are providing a way for me to connect to others.
Go create some experience stages!
you are the actor on the stage - Adam Lawrence work-play-experience blog explains: &#x201C;Whether you are a doctor or a plumber [or web designer, or writer, or the comment answering guy or the videographer, etc.], every part of your customer contact is like performing a show &#x2013; after all, you are trying to manage the perception that the customer forms of you and your offering. So rehearse!&#x201D;
What do actors and musicians do besides memorize lines or music and perform? They connect. They connect with you, the audience. [click]
Connecting with customers is our job on the web, too.
To do this, we need to learn to interact on the web. train for this, just like at the physical desk (ref interview training) - training needs to include &#x201C;how to connect&#x201D; and &#x201C;how to interact with others online&#x201D;
The experience your visitors have while on your site and while attempting to interact with you, with your products, and with your content is is your stage.
You need to get this right!
Work on Conversation ... to improve our ability to connect and interact.
Read emerging marketing books/blogs - Conversations have become the new way to market stuff
we need to learn the fine art of conversation in many different formats &#x2013; writing, photoing, videoing.
It&#x2019;s still the same old skill &#x2013; conversation &#x2013; but presented in a new, digital-age wrapper
Your web visitors are experiencing something right now. Is it good or bad? Easy or hard? Do you know?
Really 2 ways to go:
1. plan for & build deliberate experiences into your website
2. Don&#x2019;t think about experience ... and hope for the best.
Guess what? These people ... your patrons ... like going online. It&#x2019;s convenient.
It&#x2019;s not always easy.
Make it easy to use, maybe work on delighting them in the process...
And they just might come back for MORE.
Want to find out more? I wrote a book about this topic, you can find it on Amazon.