Sam Button, Head of Growth, Roar Media
Roar Media’s Sam Button dives deeper into digital experience as part of any digital business transformation looking at customer centricity, user experience and the challenges faced by any organisation looking to transform.
‘The way you’ve always done business is the way you’ll go out of business’
Disruption is a buzzword which has become increasingly popular when discussing digital innovation. Understanding the need for change and scraping digital systems has become key to thriving in a changing world. Legacy systems are being challenged as services and customer experience is under constant stress tests and scrutiny.
There is a pressure on design & UX teams to be well versed in their knowledge of other companies digital experience offering, especially that of large successful companies and of course, their competitors. CEO’s, board members are poised to ask the age old question, if they are doing it why can’t we?
Of course, it is easier said than done and the only way digital experience innovation cannot be achieved by mimicking another organisation.
Customer centricity is key to success. Understanding your users, both internally & externally will provide you with the foundations to disrupt. An inhouse digital team should be considered crucial to ongoing success as regular maintenance is required as well as constant testing and evolution of the digital experience due to customer trends and behaviours, seen from their digital footprint.
So what do you need in order to have a successful digital experience team?
Digital Experience Team Structure – Core Structure
Every company is unique, with consumer behaviour differentiating even within certain products and locations. It is vital to assess your current customers and how they interact digitally, in order to improve the services and touchpoints which are most important. If a large percentage of your current delivery is mobile, due to commercial behaviours, then innovation in mobile should be a key concern.
Whilst data can give you great insight into the behaviour and needs of your customers, there is nothing better than asking your consumers what would increase their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand. Customer feedback specifically around digital services and beta testing with your top customers, is a great way to maintain them being part of the company and increases the likelihood of referrals to their friends & family.
Once you have a good understanding of your customers it is important to decide realistic achievements and how these can be realised. The interaction design needs to be goal-driven, customer centric and the interface seamless. This requires meticulous planning, encompassing various teams to cover communication between information architecture and front-end development. Once an achievable plan has been designed and agreed to be viable for parts of the agile team, this needs constant testing with a variety of users.
Functionality is great, however, on its own will not reach the desired effect for your CEO or customers. The digital experience needs to be glossy in order to truly captivate your audience, in the same way that visual presentation of food enhances taste and the overall experience, consumers online are happier within a neat, colourful and unique environment.
Again, the visual design is decided on a number of factors including branding, brand image and customer feedback but you should see a digital revamp as an opportunity to modernise your image and the perception of your business. Which can be achieved by very subtle adaptations of design.
Front End Development (UI)
The front end needs to ensure functionality and the visual design are harmonious. The input of your UI team is required throughout the evolution of your digital experience, they are a vital
Constant evaluation of behaviours within your customer facing digital environment, gives you the data to analyse current patterns, where improvements are required and where innovations have
The Enterprise UX Framework
Core IA Elements
Information assurance & means testing is required across all digital experience innovations. Whilst you should be actively looking to analyse and learn from all digital interactions with your products and brand, any new product has to include authentication & confidentiality which needs to be built into every aspect of the customer journey through digital channels.
Having guidelines and standardised components, patterns and tools enables greater communication between your teams at every stage of the project. The design process should include reasoning as to why decisions were made during the planning and what standards have been set around the outputs, responsibilities and how and when teams are communicating with each other. With an in-house design team, you should look to build a pattern library, component library and visual design library, this ensures consistency across all of your digital products.
Using governance & standardised components throughout your digital product design allows you to create a folder of elements which can be used throughout all of your digital products, ensuring consistency across all channels and deliveries and future alterations are delivered in a quicker and more efficient manner.
Testing needs to be done throughout the process of designing & implementing a new digital user experience. It is important to test and evaluate all aspects of the design from the User research process right through to the customer beta tests, this provides feedback at every section of the project and leads to marginal gains which make future projects more efficient. It is important to remember that no matter how good you make your new digital experience, unfortunately technology moves at such a pace that it will require a major revamp in the future.
Legacy Systems & Processes
Outdated systems are a common problem but it is also important to asses and modernise your processes. UX governance is a great way to bring the processes in-line with the projects you are looking to undertake. It is important to make sure decision makers understand that you may need funding to enhance the digital workplace of your team, before you even start on digital projects. Assessing the current processes and systems in place, it is very likely enhancements are required to complete projects efficiently. You should discuss this with your team and look for the perfect solution for all, then you can sell the importance to key stakeholders that once you have the software and process in place, all future digital projects will be delivered quicker and to a higher standard.
Culture can be a very hard thing to change and this is probably the most important challenge to address, since you cannot successfully energise your team to work towards a common goal, if they think any of the process is incorrect. It is important to keep them involved in every stage of the process and to regularly get their input and appraisals of the project. If the working atmosphere is cohesive, there is a much higher chance of success and innovative ideas within the team, if you can give them ownership and involvement it is likely they will become passionate about the project.
Decision by Committee
You need to enable the teams to come together to decide aspects of the planning, design and outcome. Additionally, constant evaluation throughout the project and scrum meetings to discuss progress are required to maintain involvement from all sides.
Instant Showstopping features are expected, when in reality it is small incremental changes that enable a successful and lasting innovation within digital experience. It is important to manage these expectations and find ways to reach small goals early on to present functionality of the new digital experience.
Setting up a DX team for Success in Agile
In conclusion, there is a huge amount of planning and evaluation required to undertake any digital experience innovation project with the human aspect and working within teams vital to successful and lasting results. The structure needs to be centralised yet embedded, the design of your digital experience requires knowledge of your customers and needs to be curated over time, with new experience beta tested and analysed by your consumer base. Having a strong team with a defined structure & governance enables you to retain the team and improve the efficiency and outcome of each project but it is important for you to remember and communicate with key decision makes that any digital transformation is a marathon and not a sprint.