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Social Experience Design (SXD) - Design Council (London) 11/2011
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Social Experience Design (SXD) - Design Council (London) 11/2011


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Here's a presentation I gave at a breakfast seminar at the Design Council in London, November 2011 about some key design principles that need to be considered when designing for the new, social, …

Here's a presentation I gave at a breakfast seminar at the Design Council in London, November 2011 about some key design principles that need to be considered when designing for the new, social, customer.

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  • Sometime referred to as the ‘people formerly known as consumers’ the behaviour of users, followers, friends, fans and participants has rapidly morphed into something much more complex than our existing media planning landscape media was built for. People’s behaviour has changed.A relationship with these consumers used to start with transaction – now it has to happen before. 
  • Old rules said you buy some media (online or offline) and point people to your website and the rest happens to plan. The brand pushed and we controlled with things like Art Direction and Tone of Voice to manage the message. Brands were fixed and controlled from the centre.But brands need to work smarter to activate consumers and the old plans don’t work. Three (technology-driven) things combined – people’s increasing need for social proof, mobiletechnology,and the need for speed, put pressure on brands to look for new ways to drive engagement. Engagement which can work cross channel and provide a unified experience.
  • In the new world… the brand is unfixed, flexible and movable. You share control of your brand with the user, friends, fan or participants.I’d like to share some good examples of some strong design principles and themes which can help this process.These are JUST A HANDFUL of examples and this is NOT an exhaustive list – it’s just some themes we’ve observed lately that are having an impact on Customer Experience.
  • The first principle is design for sharing. If it’s worth publishing, its worth sharing.It may seem like a completely obvious principle but in a truly frictionless world of the new customer most public content should be automatically enabled for sharing. Even now many brands don’t make their content available for sharing. Even if that’s a simple send-to-a friend.Shares should also be measured. They’re a good soft metric which can inform content strategy and tell other site visitors which content is most interesting.
  • The next principle is designing for conversation. A conversation of course is more than just about talking – it’s HOW you conduct the conversation that delivers the brand promise.And how you listen is part of the conversation – it helps you understand | respond | help | give advice | illustrate | elaborate | defend or fix the facts if your brand is being bashed.Brands responding to the new customer promote and encourage direct contact and create opportunities to have conversations via all channels.But its worth remembering that digital natives (people under 24 don’t do muchemail) – it’s Twitter, Facebook, SMS, Skype. And customer service using Twitter & Facebook is more prevalent in the US – where visibly identifiable people provide direct and transparent customer service triage.Savvy brands don’t “talk to”, they have “conversations with” customers about stuff that matters. First Direct don’t use Facebook and Twitter for Customer Service - like you might expect them to – they move the conversation right towards the centre. They are social at the core.First Direct’s ‘Talking Point’ is a good example of that. This allows them to ask for direct verbal feedback about key issues that affect customers – and the customers don’t hold back. This particular talking point around their iPhone app provoked a backlash of put out Android owners venting anger at their omission, despite being a larger constituency. First Direct reacts immediately and responds by putting an Android app on its development Road Map.
  • Virgin Trains show us that talk is not cheap. Conversation gets things done. Every five minutes or so on Twitter they respond to a specific customer issue, nudge a request along or update information about service status.And this willingness to engage in conversation translates into relatively good customer satisfaction rating, given well publicised issues with its train operations.In this example they tackle an issue with a ticket purchase - making use of Twitter’s image publishing functionality to illustrate piece of help.All Virgin travel brands are excellent examples of a mature use and effective use of social media Virgin America – the Airline – is also worth looking at.
  • Rating, commenting, posting content as a social activity has been driven by sites like Facebook, Youtube and Flickr so is a normal social activity and for digital natives – those under 24 – a form of self-expression. This behavioural norm increases the pressure for brands to create compelling content with which to engage consumers– but it also increase opportunity. 
  • LEGO is an excellent example of a brand which has reinvented itself in the past decade by embracing the virtual world and customer engagement through participation.I really suggest you check it out.It engages with different segments of its global audience in designing new products as it recognised in year 2000 that it couldn’t possibly have all the smartest people working for the company – ongoing user involvement in product design is now a central plank of its strategy.LEGO CREATE AND SHARE lets LEGO builders share their creations with other builders globally who can vote and comment. Categorised by country, by interest group from Star Wars to Harry Potter and I found 102 creations in the FOOD category alone.MY LEGO Network allows young LEGO players to build their very own lego-themed personalised webpage.
  • I see we have some banking clients in today. Welcome. Most banks are very careful to keep under wraps their new product development.First Direct go against the grain with the First Direct Lab – they openly test new propositions out on their users so they can junk them or improve them before rolling them out. This example shows First Direct asking users whether they would be receptive to receiving QR codes in customer comms AND, even more significantly, what they think of a potential new website design. Users aren’t holding back.UNLIKE YOUTUBE of course which pushed a new design live at the weekend without asking permission of its user base and suffered a huge backlash.Regular users clearly have a sense of ownership.DESIGNING FOR PARTICIPATION empowers a consumer and strengthens their sense of ownership and brand loyalty. The brand gets input into product development and crowd-sourced feedback on new innovations. Significantly, new innovations can actually originate from the customers.
  • According to research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit this year, 82% of firms believe that clients expect a faster service than FIVE YEARS ago.AND research conducted by WE ARE LONDON for Transport for London in November suggested people expect the same information to be delivered three times as fast as FIVE years ago.But in this study the Economist also indicated that maintaining QUALITY was a real concern for firms.
  • Net a Porter maintains quality with its high-speed London and Manhattan Premier service – showing that it can be done, for a price of course.If you place an order before 1PM in London or New York, you can wear your outfit the same night. A huge innovation in e-commerce.
  • The next principle is designing for responsiveness. In the old days you defaulted to designing for an increasingly larger screens every couple of years. Then along came WAP in 2002 and there was cottage industry in WAP sites. It wasn’t until SMARTPHONES properly took off with Apple’s iPhone in 2007 that there was a huge push for separate mobile sites.Then there was this weird fallacy of the person sitting on a bus with a mobile phone – the mobile Internet User.This is the oft-defaulted to persona of the near-sighted UX designer.Then the iPad arrived in 2010 and now copyist tablets have added to the mix there’s been a huge proliferation of formats. Now we can’t judge where mobile ends and tablet begins – or even where desktop and laptop and web TV differ.There are two basic issues:1) We can’t possibly keep a range of different stylesheets or versions of our websites up to date2) It’s a waste of and try to second guess people’s context of use or information needs just from screen size and device format. We can alwaystell which devices are connecting to us, but we can’t tell what people are doing or, really what their content needs are until they state their intention.Those days are over.People regularly two or three screen at home – for example watching X-Factor on a large LCD while using their phone and laptop to engage with the X-Factor backchannel community.
  • So there’s this principle of RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN. And put simply this says that one site, built to some EMERGING BEST PRACTICE STANDARDS being developed by some technical thought leaders in this country and the USA can respond flexibly to render a single page which any browser of any size can display flexibly, independent of the device that requested the page. This clearly has positive implications around efficiency for website content management BUT it is a significant diversion from maintaining separate stylesheets for mobile and tablet devices – the current preferred norm for most large sites.The screengrabs above, from The Boston Globe show the same page in the same browser session without reloading, just with a resized browser. It was launched in September as the first major public site to use this technology at scale. I urge everyone to have a look and play, using different devices.
  • The next principle is DESIGN FOR LOCATIONBoth the Network and devices connected to it are increasingly location-aware to This Alleviates the need for customers to slow themselves down with post code look-ups or branch finders and provides the opportunity for brands with a physical footprint to provide targeted location-based services, information and offers. Most smartphones and tablets now ship with an onboard GPS and a compass those which don’t use signal triangulation. These are accessible to your website or app. Fixed Internet can be targeted to the city level with a high degree of confidence using IP targeting database.It also presents opportunities for new types of apps and services – Urban Spoon – shown here is an excellent HYPERLOCAL HYPERSOCIAL app for Foodies.
  • And the final principle is DESIGN FOR NOW. Website lifecycles used to be three years. People upgrade their phone every 18 months. Apple updates its iOS every year. Different screen formats continue to proliferate. So the need for speed applies to the way we manage our digital products.The launch is not the end, it’s just the beginning. The pace of technology change and evolving customer expectations requires a different approach:More frequentiterationsOften smaller – no big bangsA focus on evolution not revolution - realign don’t redesign as you build in more frequent customer feedback loops and regular manageable releasesConsider whether being in ‘permanent beta’ in which customers continuously feed back and assist your product management but at least consider beta testing and engaging an audience – it will help build a stronger productThe BBC uses Beta on its recent redesign. Google uses it as a matter of course on some of its products, butEvolution not revolution
  • Transcript

    • 1. In memory of…The people formerlyknown as friendsconsumers Followers FansInteractionbeforetransaction participants
    • 2. Channel control PR press outdoor Copy TOV Packaging POS brand DR Uniforms IVR &CC www Style guides TV Logo Shopfitting Colour palette Art Direction
    • 3. Some principlesDesign for sharingDesign for conversationDesign for participationDesign for speed…but maintain qualityDesign for responsivenessDesign for locationDesign now…for today
    • 4. Design for sharing
    • 5. Design for conversation {First Direct Talking Point}
    • 6. Design for conversation {First Direct Talking Point}Talk isn’t cheap – Here…Virgin helpsit’s priceless for customers with acustomers with a problem buying aproblem. ticket…
    • 7. Design for participation… low engagement high
    • 8. Design for participation…
    • 9. Design for participation…
    • 10. Design for speed… User expectations of traffic disruption info 2006-2011 Info updated every 2006 30mins Info needs to be updated every 2011 10mins Research conducted by we are london for TfL November 2011
    • 11. Design for speed… Leading high-end fashion ecommerce now delivers the same day“ ” …maintain quality
    • 12. Design for responsiveness… Laptops Noteboooks TabletsMobiile phones Desktops Internet TV
    • 13. Design for responsiveness…
    • 14. Design for location…
    • 15. Design now, for today…Change is business as usual Realign don’t redesignMore frequent iterations Plan CreateMore agileresponses tocustomerfeedback Customer Proposition Learn Execute Measure incremental changes public beta permanent beta