Forget channels: Context is King (IA Summit)

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Channels are exploding and we can't keep up. Instead of approaching each new channel by trying to figure out all its constraints or oversimplifying the user behavior, ignore the channel. Plan for context and channel will follow.

A talk our VP User Experience Emily Wengert gave at the IA Summit 2012 in New Orleans.

Published in: Design, Business, Technology
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  • This is beautiful. Was this successful in terms of creating progress? Can't believe this was written 3 years ago, and for some reason, the issue still remains: agencies, specialists and business units are structured around "channels". Thanks for this, Huge!
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Forget channels: Context is King (IA Summit)

  1. 1. March 24, 2012IA Summit – Context is King#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  2. 2. London BrooklynLos Angeles Rio
  3. 3. I’m usually here! London BrooklynLos Angeles Rio
  4. 4. Or here! London BrooklynLos Angeles Rio
  5. 5. Let’s start with some history…#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  6. 6. 2002 2012 Digital channels then: Digital channels now: websites websites intranets intranets mobile phones tablets digital TV in cars in stores in everything…#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  7. 7. Channel-centric design grows up:#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  8. 8. Channel-centric design grows up:#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  9. 9. Channel-centric design grows up:#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  10. 10. 3 myths,2 channels.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  11. 11. Myth #1: Mobile is just used whenpeople are on-the-go.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  12. 12. Myth #1: Mobile is just used whenpeople are on-the-go.Mobile is the lazy man’s computer.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  13. 13. 89% use mobile while at home.Source: Yahoo Mobile Shopping Framework Study, 2011#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  14. 14. Myth #2: People want less on theirmobile phone than on desktops.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  15. 15. Myth #2: People want less on theirmobile phone than on desktops.Priorities should change – not features.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  16. 16. Myth #3: Tablets are just an oversizedmobile device or a simpler PC.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  17. 17. Myth #3: Tablets are just an oversizedmobile device or a simpler PC.Tablets are a content consumptionjuggernaut with varied uses.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  18. 18. 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 PC 10 Tablet 0Source: AlphaWiseTM, Morgan Stanley Research Tablet Demand & Disruption, Feb 14, 2011#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  19. 19. Channel-centric design grows up:#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  20. 20. Channel-centric design grows up:#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  21. 21. Context exercise: cream and sugar#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  22. 22. Stop being a channel expert.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  23. 23. Start being a context expert.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  24. 24. 3 contextsPlace.Mindset.Social.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  25. 25. 3 contextsPlace.Mindset.Social.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  26. 26. #ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  27. 27. #ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  28. 28. #ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  29. 29. Place considerations:•  Where is the user?•  What goals do they have there?•  Why are they accessing digital in that place?•  What other channels are around them?#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  30. 30. Case study: store planning vs. visitStore planning needs Store visit needs•  Making a list •  Checking off list•  Finding store location •  Wayfinding•  Researching a category / •  Quick decision making specific product (based on price, ratings)•  Getting inspired •  Price lookup•  Inventory check •  Additional sizes / colors#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  31. 31. 3 contextsPlace.Mindset.Social.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  32. 32. “I want to set and walk away.”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  33. 33. BB&B` wedding registry “I want to show off.”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  34. 34. “I want to be endlessly entertained.”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  35. 35. “I don’t want to kill my kid.”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  36. 36. Mindset considerations:•  What state of mind will my user most likely be in?•  How might that affect their success in what I’m designing?•  What state do I want them in as they use this and how can my designs help them reach that state?#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  37. 37. 3 contextsPlace.Mindset.Social.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  38. 38. “I don’t want to be judged.”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  39. 39. “People might see my size or…”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  40. 40. “I’ve got my kid with me.” (Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Carol E. Davis)#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  41. 41. “I’m in a social place.”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  42. 42. “I’m in a social place.”#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  43. 43. Social considerations:EMOTIONAL•  Could there be any peer pressure (good / bad) in the mix?PROXIMITY•  How public is your user? How public would someone want to make what they’re doing?•  Is your user alone? With others? With kids?PLATFORM•  Are there any expectations social will be present?#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  44. 44. Wrap up.#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  45. 45. Get past the constraints of channels. Think about the user!Avoid pithy (incorrect) channel ideas. 1.  Mobile is more than on the go. 2.  Mobile should offer just as much as desktop. 3.  Tablets created their own behavior.Start being a context expert. Place. Mindset. Social. And more…#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  46. 46. #ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy
  47. 47. Questions…#ContextIsKing @wallowmuddy

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