Walk into Nike’s latest concept store in West Los Angeles, and you will have entered a whole new universe where the digital and physical collide. With 4,557 square feet of retail space, the store is designed to blend the convenience of mobile app with high-quality human connection. In other words, Nike is experimenting with the contemporary user experience, and you’re the guinea pig.
You may not have the same budget as Nike’s well-endowed marketing team, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this new era of customer-corporate communications. Here are five things to keep in mind at your next user experience brainstorm.
Users are everything
What do your users actually want? The best brands work hard to understand their customers before they put their marketing pens to paper (or tablets), seeking to figure out how their business fits into their world- not the other way around.
“You need to start with the audience you’re serving,” says Jonathan Goldmacher, managing director for Valtech in New York, “Understand their lives intimately, the role your category and brand play in their lives, and the places where you have an opportunity to do things in an exceptionally better way. You also need to understand the business you’re in and what’s possible inside that environment.”
Think outside your silo
You might be racing along just fine with your direct competitors, but your customer is a multifaceted user with high expectations.
“You may be best in your category,” says Elephant VP Kevin Kearney, “but if you’re not thinking about where people’s expectations are going and what their needs are, someone will enter your category and meet those needs the way other brands do.” Netflix, Amazon and other start-ups are taking things to the next level, you should be too.
Avoid being a copycat
Know your market, but think for yourself. Just because Pinterest works for Pinterest doesn’t mean the same visual approach will work for your customers. “Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean they’re doing it right,” says Charming Robot CEO Dan Maccarone.
Return to step one: know your user.
Where your customers are, you should be also
Many brands spend millions of dollars in a bid to attract customers to their sites. This is the other way around to how firms should aim to connect with consumers, says Citia CEO Linda Holliday.
“Most companies spend most of their money trying to drag attention back to their own website,” she says, “if you’re Condé Nast and you want readers to have an extended experience with Vogue, it doesn’t matter whether it happens on the company website, YouTube or Instagram when the alternative is ‘not at all.’”
At the end of the day, managing your connections with your customers is a process. You need to keep innovating and adapting: what worked this year may be redundant by 2020.
People don’t understand how much failure goes into every successful interface they see,” says Khoi Vinh, principal designer at Adobe, “no UX design can stay fixed for very long; it needs to evolve with the user if brands want to stay relevant.”
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