The best made plans are based on a foundation of user evidence. By understanding what your users want, how they want it and where they go to get it you will more effectively be able to meet their needs.
As we look toward 2021 and, hopefully, the opportunities that await us there, we share some of the ways you could incorporate user insights into your plans.
Until very recently, how we engaged with brands and organisations normally spanned a multitude of touchpoints – online, in store, telephone, email and social media. As stores have shut and customer service centres shifted more heavily to digital solutions, the online touchpoint has become, in many cases, the only touchpoint.
We had to have a plumber round the other day. Watching him at work (and pestering him with plenty of annoying questions) it quickly became apparent how much of his knowledge was subconscious. Decades of grovelling around under sinks and fiddling with boilers had ingrained these skills and expertise so deep in his brain that he often couldn’t articulate precisely what he was doing.
Most of the research we do on websites is now done during the development stage: thank goodness the days of usability testing just before, or even after, launch is now in the past for the vast bulk of our clients. See User test early - Quicker, better, cheaper outcomes.
Most current chatbots are not very good. This makes it very easy for people to be sceptical about them and ignore the whole approach. However, this is often because the user’s needs were not fully understood or because they have not been adequately tested with users.
How people interact with your organisation is likely to change radically over the next few years. The maturing of some key technologies, most notably machine learning and conversational interfaces, means your users may no longer be using your website.
Over the years we have undertaken usability testing on several University websites. I have blogged before about why so many University sites are so unusable, and concluded that the problems are primarily organisational not technical. Our recent experience seems to confirm that this is still the case.