-Why Businesses Need To Consider The Holistic Experience
In the competitive race to gain traffic and entice users to engage, no matter what you offer, the demand has grown to make websites and apps something that users feel like they have to be a part of, not just learn how to use efficiently.
There needs to be more than just aesthetics, more than just great content. If they ever did, bells, whistles, and whirling graphics do not hypnotize users like they used to. What brings it all together?
In this interactive, information-rich world, astute business owners know that users become bored with technology tricks and magic shows that attempt to lure them in. And with so many well-informed leaders, it’s more important than ever to know the answers to:
- How we differentiate in understanding what encompasses the customers’ true needs?
- How might we invite our customers in to play a role in developing our products and services?What’s needed to keep internal resources stable?
- How do we reduce overall budget impact on projects?
The pendulum has now swung both ways: we’ve built ground-breaking technologies and we’ve crafted outstanding content, but still, our best guesses and intense study of best-practices has not done all we expected in capturing our intended audience.
The reason for the underwhelming results is simple. We’ve tried to diagnose the issue ourselves and have merely treated the symptoms of “engagement atrophy” instead of getting to the root cause of the issue.
1. Also, atrophia [uh-troh-fee-uh]. Pathology. a wasting away of the body or of an organ or part, as from defective nutrition or nerve damage.
2. degeneration, decline, or decrease, as from disuse:
He argued that there was a progressive atrophy of freedom and independence of thought.
How The Symptoms Start To Materialize
When one part of the human body is not getting enough nutrients, it starts to atrophy. When this happens, other parts of the body start to compensate, but then eventually they start to suffer as well. Such a thing exists today with users and technology.
In order to understand the Why, we must look at the experience that the user has with our technology holistically, that is not just what it looks like and what it does, but what it says and how they feel about it, especially after the objectives have been achieved.
Not only measuring how long they engage and how they feel about it, but how it impacts them emotionally while they are using it and afterwards. Does it speak to them? What does it say? Do they still feel that way long enough to recommend your company to someone else? The entire experience must be considered in order to establish a healthy, balanced customer relationship.
Companies that have already adapted the practice of UX Research into their designs have made a great start. They are ahead of those who are guessing or worse, trying to implement “best-practices” that may or may not fit their audience or their users’ journey through their technology. Untested assumptions that get overworked in the lab before anyone gives feedback is pure toxin to your cash flow.
Doing your research to build empathy and design a product or service based on that is exactly what you should do in order to nail down:
- Who is your audience?
- What would do they with your product?
- What haven’t you considered yet?
- What is not useful to them?
If It Has Sniffles, Does That Mean It Has A Cold?
With content and visuals, the study of the users’ experience is really about dissecting how they feel about the product itself. Stopping short in the diagnosis to say that the reason for a stuffy nose is allergies when it could actually be sinus infection would be considered careless in the scenario of a patient and a doctor. Should you take it any less seriously when it comes to your customers’ interactions with your products and services? When the health of the business is at stake, it is worth a qualified professional’s trained eyes to see what is really going on behind the symptoms.
When someone visits a website or looks at an interface, what is the first thing that they do? They scan the screen with their eyes, looking to land on the thing that they are looking for or click on the first thing that interests them.
You have less than 5 seconds to engage a user on a website or they leave. Do you think big chunky text blocks will make that happen? Most users scan a page looking for something that stands out. If it doesn’t grab them, they are gone. You can fill pages with all the things that you think your visitors will look at to determine what you are about, but with only a meager amount of time in between blinks, how will you know what captivates them?
What Is The Proper Treatment?
User experience needs to go well beyond the technology itself and be applied to content as well. When the holistic approach is taken to the research, the user gets a product that they feel apart of, like the company wants them to matter. How can you refuse something that feels like you?
This is the benefit to holistic experience. A product that looks, feels and talks like them. The best part is the same kinds of research can be done in combination and be used together to create one fluid product.
The market today is not about selling something, it is about customers buying exactly what they are looking for. A staggering 81% of consumers spend time on the Internet, researching products and services before a major purchase and they average a whopping 79 days in research time before they make their buying decision. This is why the holistic experience is the only one that will address the needs of today’s customer who does a ton of research on a given product type before they determine who to buy it from.
Even more, the millennial customer is one that places their individual moral compass, personal ethics and ability for a company to anticipate their needs ahead of price. Millennials want to feel as though they are part of a community more than they are a customer. They want to know that their dollars spent are going to good of something better, even if it is in the long run.
In order to address this persona population, much research will need to be done or companies will completely miss the mark. Moreover, the articulation of the product and what it stands for will need to be addressed. As this population ages, this conundrum will become more of an issue for technology and those that use it to sell their products and services.
Ongoing Awareness for Optimal Health And Wellness
Companies must either make sure their technology is still healthy enough for the marketplace or risk seeing it wander off to the technology convalescent home.So, optimizing the holistic experience is not a one-time static undertaking. Just like a human, it needs checkups and routine maintenance. Consider these timeless truths:
- Customers evolve
- Industries change
- What was relevant shifts quickly
- Failing to plan for evolution is planning to fail
Ongoing application of continued evolution is necessary to keep the momentum going and the health of a product flourishing. User research is not a one-time thing. Because technology evolves quickly and the users adaptation to it can change on a dime (iPhone, for instance) companies are tasked with keeping up or being left in the wake of change.
A product that looks like what they want, that does what they need it to, and that says exactly what they need is the holistic experience. Not one or the other in parts and pieces but the experience as a whole, for good overall business health and stability.