Save time and money with Rapid Usability Tests

We have been having incredible success in 2014 with Rapid Usability Test Sprints with companies including PayPal, AMP, Amaysim & OPSM who run these usability tests regularly to mitigate risks and make informed design decisions. They iterate designs on various projects from mobile apps to transactional websites.

“Rapid UX Testing is a powerful method. It is cheap and produces results quicker than traditional methods. It is easy to incorporate rapid usability testing within tight project schedules and tight budgets.” 

Rapid Recruit, Research and Results. 

How do we do Rapid Usability Test Sprints?

While working in an agile environment, clients want to iteratively validate a concept or design. This requires customer engagement which to some people means time and money. With our Sprints the objective is to get quick feedback from real customers and put insights into actions… as quickly as within just 1 week turnaround!

We run the projects like a formal usability test, which includes:

  • Formal usability testing scripts that are signed off by the client
  • Clear recruitment brief is defined with fairly broad requirements
  • Formal lab setting with viewing from our special Brainstorming Room or live online with Adobe Connect.

In order to make it most effective we ensure that all relevant project team members come to the session and actively participate during and after each test. When they leave for the day most UI improvement decisions have been made and our summary report becomes a checklist of things that were agreed.

Here’s the steps to run a Rapid Usability Test Sprint

Step 1: Decide on what you want to test

Have a clear research objective!  Identify stimulus to test and no more then 3-5 areas of interest.

Stimulus. The best part about Rapid Usability Testing is that you can get started with just about any working (or non-working) products. For the test that we conducted the concept was rather high level with no working prototype to speak of. So we did the next best thing, mobile paper prototypes!

paper prototypes

Mobile app paper prototypes that were used for Agile UX concept testing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the product is in its earliest stages it can literally be shaped by user expectations.

Areas of interest.  You must tailor the test based on the insights you want to gain.  For instance our client wanted to gauge the audience’s response to an unorthodox method of online shopping. We asked our client the following:

  • What user journey are you expecting to deliver positive business outcomes?
  • Which pages/features are of most interest?
  • Are there specific copy, navigation or UI elements we want feedback on?

Tasks were therefore created around navigation and customers filtering their search down to a specific product. This helped establish if the user journey was as smooth as intended.

Step 2: Quick, reliable resource for participants

As with any usability test you should have specific customer segments & demographics. With rapid turn times on recruitment that might mean they need to be fairly broad specs.  We use our Sydney Research Network platform to recruit people really, really quickly using social media. We’re talking about recruiting people even as quickly as 2 days before testing! If you like, we offer recruitment for your projects too.

Step 3: TEST!

The Rapid Usability Test for this particular mobile product was done with 5 or 6 people, individual sessions in our Eye Tracking test lab (or it could have been done in a spare room at our client’s office).

As with formal usability testing, a script is prepared that details each task. Keep tasks short and focused and test in about 45min sessions.

This video shows how eye tracking can be used on a mobile app.

We do find that eye tracking facilitates a richer Rapid Usability Test, as it allows the observers to see exactly where people are looking, or not looking, and why. It becomes very obvious when participants are having trouble getting through tasks, and validates learnings in order to begin making design decisions immediately.

Here’s 5 Rapid Usability Testing tips for the session

1. Introduce yourself and the purpose of the test: Say hello! Explain what is about to happen. It is important to stress to the participant, that the product is being tested, not them. Tell them they are being video recorded.

2. Keep it light: It is important to put the participant at ease in order to get honest feedback.  Crack a joke, be genuinely interested in the participant’s interests and have a genial approach.

3. Get them on your side: Allow participants to contribute to the product. Ask them what their solution would be to a certain issue or pain point they were having.

4. Try not to lead participants: It’s easy to get subjective about a product, especially if you are the creator!

Some leading and closed questions to avoid:

  • “Does the slowness of the application frustrate you?”
  • “Does the colour theme of the UI frustrate you?”
  • “Are you pausing because you are unable to figure out the navigation?”

Here are some open-ended questions that fit into almost every user interview:

  • What do you think?
  • How do you feel about using it this way?
  • What would you do next?
  • How would you expect it to work?

Participants open up with interesting points of view when questioned in this manner. It is also important to use silence effectively during interviews. Silence is a powerful tool that naturally prompts the interviewee to fill the void.

5. For Rapid UX Testing it is imperative that stakeholders watch and participate in vigorous discussion: It always helps when people who are involved with the product development are invited to watch tests. Not only can they provide recommendations or ‘tweaks’ between sessions (instead of after the fact), but the result is almost always a more understanding development & business team who will make key decisions soon after the testing. It also means you don’t need to write a long report that few people take the time to read. They already know what needs fixing!

Here’s some tips for effective Rapid Usability Testing observation:

  • Do a dry run with stimulus, discussion guide and technical set up
  • Ensure observers have clear audio and can see the participants face and hand movements
  • Print our key screens of interest and draw on them
  • Use a white board to sketch solutions to UI issues
  • Use Postit notes to jot down findings
  • Encourage discussion
  • After each session run a brief discussion of key findings
  • At the end of the day summarise the findings and, more importantly, the key updates that will be made.
Design Room_with Whitewall

Objective Digital’s King St. Wharf Research Hub – design room with whitewall.

All said and done, Rapid Usability Test Sprints are very flexible. There is no perfect way
of doing it. The heart of the matter is to get quick insights from real people, providing validated learnings for Rapid Results.

Rapid Recruit, Research and Results. 

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10 tips for online form design

The use of mobiles is continuing to grow, yet we still see a significant amount of online forms and applications that still make it hard for users to quickly and easily complete forms. Let’s face it, no-one really enjoys filling out an online form, so here a few tips to help reduce errors and increase form efficiency.

1. Inline Validation – Provides real time feedback as users enter data on individual form fields. Once focus is removed from each field a notification, generally a small green check mark next to the field is displayed.

Mint  Inline Validation

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Specify Input type By specifying input type you restrict input to only the required input format. For e.g. if a phone number is required ensure the numerical keypad shows when numerical form field is activated. To further reduce errors introduce input masks to automatically dismiss any non-numerical input such as a dash, space or full-stop. Make sure the numerical keypad remains active when a user moves between phone number inputs such as area code to main number entry.

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3. Feedback Some stages on forms take time to process such as calculations, uploads or submissions. Be sure to provide system feedback to the user when actions are being processed. Disable the submit once it has been clicked to avoid multiple form
submissions.

Processing

 

 

 

 

4. Increase size and vertically align labels Mobile screen sizes are small enough as it is. Consideration needs to be given to the context in which they are used. The size of form fields should be maximised to screen width and kept in a vertical format. By keeping fields vertical you reduce the fixation rate and keep users working in one visual direction.

Top-aligned-mobile-labels

5. Stop password masking Let’s stop making it harder by showing bullet points when entering passwords. Whilst security concerns have been raised in the past, I’d prefer optimum usability over the minimal security risks, if any. Alternatively, include the option for users to hide password by tapping on a show/hide icon.

hidepass4   show-hide-password

6. Don’t use Inline Labels Labels placed inside form fields (inline labels) are widespread and often used in mobile design. Inline labels have a place, but be careful where and when they are used. An exception can be for a sign-in form, where a user is performing a familiar task such as username or email address. If the information required is unique or performed infrequently, place labels above each form field so users can identify required information easily.

in field labels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Language Keep it simple and remove the jargon. Consider first time users to your product or service by using succinct informative language. Remember your users might not necessarily be using the same language as internal business and marketing teams.

8. Error Messaging If errors are made, ensure users knows where on the form the error is and how to fix it. Inline validation error messaging can also increase form efficiency letting users know an error is made immediately. Increase accessibility by including an icon (e.g. ‘x’ or ‘!’) as well as red visual elements. This way you’re not dependant on colour in perceiving errors.

Mint  Error Field

 

 

 

 

9. Reduce requirements Try and minimise the required fields within any form or application. Consider what fields are absolutely necessary and remove the rest. Another way of reducing input for users is to use default information where possible. Information often used such as email addresses and the current date could be selected by default thus giving users one less task to complete.

10. Time and Place Form field requirements also have a time and place, and the placement of requirements can have a significant impact on form completion. Through research sessions conducted in the Objective Digital lab we have seen frustration from users when personal information such as email addresses and phone numbers are being asked for much too early in a form process, resulting in users hesitating and often not continuing with the form process. The thought of marketing or sales teams contacting customers who are simply retrieving quotes or inquiring about services can cause users to hesitate and often exit the process.

Myles Clemones
UX Consultant

An Objective Consideration of Signatures and Forgery

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 3rd Next Bank Asia conference in Singapore. There was a lot of discussion about the future of banking customer experience and the need for simpler banking solutions.

One topic of current interest is the ongoing use of signatures as a form of identity in banking contexts. Brett King, CEO of Moven – a mobile banking startup, proclaims in a blog post that signatures are no longer an effective form of identification.

My PhD research is in cognitive-behavioural forensics  with a focus on signature forgery. We use eye-tracking, handwriting kinematics and questionnaires to gain insight into the signature forgery process. There are a few points about signatures and their portrayal that I believe are worthy of mention.

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Signature Forgery Research in Melbourne

It is important to understand just how relevant signatures are today. Try and remember just how many times you have signed something in the last month. Then multiply that by 12 to gauge how many things you have signed in the last year.  Understand that almost entire populations of people are doing the same thing! Signatures are VERY numerous and it’s a misconception to believe that they are fading away. In fact, there currently exists little, to no substantial  evidence that can statistically quantify this ‘dying’ of signatures. Claims about signatures fading appear to be fuelled by instances of medium to large sized companies shifting to other means of verification.

pin

Signatures are considered a behavioural biometric that we rely on for proof of identity. Unlike that of DNA, retinal patterns or finger prints, they are subject to change from day to day. It is this variability that has made signatures such an interesting and unique form of identification.

inconsistency

Because signatures are physically produced and can vary physically, they can also be forged. Evidence from studies have shown there are a few ways in which to improve the difficulty with which your signature can be copied. These include increasing the complexity of your signature by adding more line intersections and turning points, incorporating atypical line directions and angles, preferably making your signature illegible and being physically consistent when you write it! However, properly forging signatures is not as easy as you might believe. There are many established typical tell-tale signs of a forgery, which are difficult for forgers to avoid and relatively easy to detect.

I was having a chat with Louise Long from NAB and she mentioned some work she had been assigned involved checking the signatures produced in the bank (for verification purposes). The process of checking signatures for verification purposes is one that also occurs everyday in places like stores and banks. However, the process of verifying signatures is much more complicated that people assume, particularly without a fundamental understanding of the theory underpinning signatures and their examination. One useful tip is that there tends to be a trade-off between line quality and spatial quality when someone forgers a signature. This means that line tremor (or poor line quality) can therefore be used as an indicator of a forgery. However, this is not always the case, and that’s why signature examination can be such a difficult task!

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Line quality difference typical of signature forgeries

It should be noted that only professional signature examiners called forensic document examiners are properly qualified to provide opinions about the proposition that a signature is the process of a forgery, or not. So if your working at a bank or supermarket and are unsure whether two signatures ‘match’, don’t feel bad if its difficult to determine – remember, signatures are usually quite physically variable! This is why when a dispute arises, handwriting experts are usually called upon.

q and s

Often when people talk about signatures, broad statements attempting to explain a magnitude of issues are asserted without consideration of finer points. A distinctions between signatures’ effectiveness as a form of proof of identity and signatures’ convenience as a form of proof of identity (from a user experience point of view) should be made. In addition, the security behind signing verses other forms of verification is again a separate topic.

Without going into too much detail about the reasons why signatures are still so widely used today (such as convenience and technological infrastructure), it could be argued that perhaps signatures will eventually one day be replaced (in most contexts) by more robust biometrics that are not susceptible to variation. All factors considered, signatures are probably still the best forms of identification we currently have access to. If they weren’t, we probably wouldn’t be using them so readily. Although, there are examples of companies and institutions making innovative movements, such as the shift toward the use of pins instead of signatures (e.g. see Commonwealth bank), this is a very minute percentage of signings when considered on a global scale.

It also shouldn’t be overlooked that unlike signatures, pins can be forgotten and pins can also be stolen. So for now, if you’ve ever been worried about the security of your signature, the least you can do is attempt to make it more forge-proof (for more information, see my other post on how to protect your signature against forgery).

For further insight about what the future might hold for signatures, I’d recommend reading Developments in Handwriting and Signature Identification in the Digital Age

Objective Asia presents at Next Bank Asia Singapore 2014 (NBASG14)

Yesterday, James Breeze; CEO and founder of and Objective Asia and Objective Digital gave a presentation on the concept of ‘build’ with a focus a on user experience at the Next Bank Asia conference 2014 in Singapore.

James Breeze Objective Digital from NextBank on Vimeo.

James presented on the importance of customer experience, with emphasis that Asia should continue to build and develop their customer experiences in this rapidly changing world.
James gave some key examples of how eye-tracking greatly enhances the quality of customer experience research, particularly when that research can be conducted in store using portable eye-tracking glasses, or data is provided to clients in real-time during user testing for immediate integration.

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Objective Asia also flexed some of their latest Tobii eye-tracking set-ups at the conference, which allow for eye-tracking of mobile and tablet users – the emerging leading platforms since the home PC, and of which now give even the laptop a run for its money.

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Given the worldwide shifts toward ‘mobile banking’, a large amount of interest was generated, as the banks are now understanding the importance of high-level customer experience research.

Objective Asia continues to build new relationships and enhance existing relationships in Asia and remains an active player in helping maintain a high-level standard of customer experience in this world of technological change.

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Special thanks to NBASG14, well done James Breeze and congratulations Objective Asia!

Mobile Banking: Who has improved app usability and, surprisingly, how many haven’t

Seventy three percent of Australians aged 15-65 own a smartphone. 65% used their smartphone everyday over the past week and 77% don’t leave the home without their device. With the rise of mobile usage it’s no wonder some of Australia’s leading banks are now making the mobile customer experience a priority (Frost & Sullivan Australian Mobile Device Usage Trends 2013).

However, since releasing our incredibly popular mobile banking app usability white paper in August 2013, it is surprising to see how little has changed in the Australian mobile banking app market!

The CommBank mobile banking app is one banking application leading the way in not only giving customers the ability to manage their finances while on the go, but helping users in making it a usable, seamless, easy and quick process. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Optional Transfers Customers have the option to make payments to a friend via Facebook, mobile number or their friend’s email address through the CommBank app. All the recipient needs is an Australian BSB and account number. Existing Commonwealth Bank customers will receive the funds directly into their account. Ensuring no-one is left out, anyone who is not a Commonwealth Bank customer will receive a text notification and a code from the sender to retrieve funds.

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CommBank’s mobile banking app, transfers, May 2014

2. On-the-Go payments using NFC or PayTag CommBank has been one of the fastest movers on allowing customers to pay on-the-go using either NFC (near field communication) or their recently introduced PayTag technology. A PayTag will cost customers $2.99 and sticks to the back of the mobile phone, working just like a credit card for tap-and-go payments. The PayTag is simple to install using on screen instructions, and is used by just tapping your phone as you would with a credit card.

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PayTag for iPhones

3. Cards Top-Up Easily top your cards up while on the go. This is a particularly useful feature when using travel cards and need to quickly access accounts to transfer money to your Commonwealth Bank travel cards all in one place within the app. Once navigated to the “top up” feature, large credit card images are visually displayed on screen accompanied by a large “top up” button where customers can simply “top up” from one card to another.

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CommBank’s Card Top-up, May 2014

4. Transfer between accounts Vertical scrolling wheel to select accounts for transfer ensuring there is minimal user input to complete the task. Only relevant information is visible on screen keeping design minimal, user friendly and removing the possibilities for user errors or confusion.

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Transfer between accounts, May 2014

5. Usability and overall user experience The most common tasks performed by users are now visible with a clear call to action on the launch screen. As users have limited time and generally be on-the-go, it is important to consider the context in which the mobile app is used. CommBank does a nice job of bringing these common tasks like account transfers, payments and tap and pay forward for their customers, whilst still keeping all app functions easily accessible through the main hamburger menu (top right).

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Launch Screen (left) and Navigation (right), May 2014

The mobile payment space may have started out somewhat slower than expected from Australia’s leading banks, however, with the ever-increasing rise in mobile use, together with customers demanding quick and usable payment solutions this is sure to change. This is evident with many of Australia’s leading banks currently releasing and/or testing new mobile payment solutions for their customers. The examples provided show CommBank leading the way with updated features and usability making everyday tasks easier for their customers.

It has never been more important to be considering the user experience of the product by researching and testing new solutions and designs with customers to evaluate how, when and why they may or may not use their mobiles for payment and everyday banking.

Providing customers with an accessible, easy and useful mobile payment experience can go a long way in, not only ensuring they continue to use it, but that they will be one of your strongest advocates.

So do you have a product or service you want to put in front of your customers? Find out about all your usability testing options and contact us for a quote!

Myles Clemones – UX Consultant

Combining Contextual Inquiry with Eye Tracking

With technology becoming more and more complex, it is key to understand how actual users interact with challenging applications. Observing users work with these systems while at work or home is bound to yield rich qualitative data.

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Objective Digital’s article, “Combining Contextual Inquiry with Eye Tracking” in UX Magazine describes how eye tracking call center operators revealed some pretty amazing insights. It revealed how a stressful environment coupled with an ineffective interface can result in bigger issues, like poor customer satisfaction and high staff turnover.

Needless to say, the findings from the eye tracking analysis put a lot of arguments to rest and were the basis for the design decisions for the systems improvement.

“I finally get it!” – Eye Tracking

Next Bank Sydney 13 brought banking experts from around the World to a wonderful venue in The Rocks, Simmer by the Bay.  As a speaker, I was set a challenge by Rob Findlay, Next Bank Founder, “Shake it up”. So I did. Next Bank Sydney Logo

Instead of my run-of-the-mill presentation, I fearfully told a story about the things that piss me off in banking and the broader enterprise marketing realm and how eye tracking can dramatically improve the situation. I really want to help people discover that:

  • Data from poor market research methods add no value to business decisions and are ignored by senior execs
  • Understanding human unconscious is critical in marketing and no, you don’t know much about what really drives your customers. Certainly nothing about how or why they do what they do.
  • Marketing budgets are simply wasted if no-one looks at your stuff and this is avoidable.
  • A shit ad is a shit ad, no matter where you stick it.

My presentation was a resounding success and at the end a client of 6 years approached me and said, “You know I have worked with you for more than 6 years and only now do I really understand eye tracking!”

Here’s my presentation, enjoy and let me know what you think?

Here’s the slides with text for your reading pleasure.

Objective Measures of our Subconscious

The brain processes 400 billion bits of information a second. BUT, we are ONLY aware of 2,000 of those.” (Dr. Joseph Dispenza)

brain image

At any given moment, our brain is receiving a great deal of visual information from our surrounding environment – changes in visual space, colours, shapes, and movement of objects. We take in so much visual information that our brain selectively filters out unimportant visual data and stores it in our subconscious memory.

Not to be dismissed, the subconscious mind has a great impact on our decision-making, thoughts, and behavior. Whether its browsing a website, glancing at an advertisement, or navigating a shopping aisle, visual information filtered into our subconscious memory influences how we react in these environments.

If the subconscious mind affects a person’s behavior with, or perceptions of, an environment (either physical or virtual), then it makes sense to understand it. In this instance, traditional research methods, such as focus groups, depth interviews, surveys, digital analytics, accompanied shops and intercepts, are limited in helping us understand subconscious reactions and behaviors. So, how do we measure the subconscious?

Our eyes process approximately 300 frames per second – processing visual information at every point. By measuring where someone is looking at each frame, allows us to detect elements in the environment that people visually perceive but may not be able to recall or remember – this is what our brain has processed into subconscious memory.

Eye tracking, as a research technique, enables us to measure each individual point at which our brain processes a piece of visual information. Replaying people’s eye movements back to them (a research method known as Retrospective Think Aloud) assists people to become consciously aware of these elements – that is, bringing these elements back into consciousness.

Shopping, for example, is largely a subconscious process, where behavior unfolds as a result of perception of visuals and other cues in the environment. By using eye tracking, we are able to objectively measure how customers respond to these cues, which our brain often filters into the unconscious mind. In such instances, eye tracking has enabled us to capture both the conscious and unconscious response to visual stimuli and provide deeper customer insights and understanding.

Incorporating eye tracking into research studies involving human interactions with systems or environments has allowed us greater insight into people’s subconscious. More importantly, eye-tracking data has provided an objective and more detailed view of actual behavior.

Objective Digital are leaders in using eye tracking technology to uncover unconscious insights which can be decoded to improve the customer experience. Having worked with large financial institutions, telco’s, retailers, travel companies, government bodies and universities, our team is equipped with a wealth of knowledge across all aspects of customer experience.

Thinking like a designer for 90 minutes

This week I had the fantastic opportunity to think like a designer in the Stanford d.school Virtual Crash Course at Objective Digital. Our consultants, Dave Hayes and Nirish Shakya had recently finished teaching the 12-week UX Design course at General Assembly’s Sydney campus. We hosted the recent graduates of the course help them to put what they learned into practice in 90 minutes! Being the curious psychology student that I am, I decided to pop my head in to see what was happening. Coming from a psychology background and having spent my entire degree practicing scientific principles of experimentation, I was pleasantly surprised by this experience.

What was it all about?

The D-School Virtual Crash Course provided a fun, energetic and fast paced guide to thinking like a designer. The course had a simple objective – to re-design the experience of your partner giving a gift to someone else (your partner being the person sitting next to you).

You get 8 minutes to interview them and find out about their past experience of giving someone a gift, their motivations, desires, likes, dislikes and anything else you could think of that influenced why and how they bought that gift.

“So tell me about the last time you bought someone a gift.”

“So tell me about the last time you bought someone a gift.”

We conducted 2 quick interviews each, the second one to dig deeper to answer more ‘why?’ questions. Then came the chance to think out of the box and think of as many radical solutions we could for their gift giving dilemmas. We then tested our initial concepts by showing them to the user. Based on their feedback, we picked one concept to prototype.

Quickly getting feedback on our prototypes but also having fun

Quickly getting feedback on our prototypes but also having fun

We made real life arts and crafts versions of those prototypes. Did I mention that we only had 4 minutes to do each of these activities? Maybe I didn’t stress it enough, this was FAST!

Rushing to find the appropriate materials. “How do I bring my concept to life??"

Rushing to find the appropriate materials. “How do I bring my concept to life??”

What did I like about it?

I particularly liked how similar designing is to being a psychologist. One of the most important parts of designing for someone is to understand their needs. This means you have to empathise with your user. All of those skills I learned about probing and asking the right questions to get to the core of someone’s problem – the same goes for designing.

I also really enjoyed how the fast pace nature of the course meant that no one in the group was judgmental, knowing that someone only had 4 minutes to re-create your gift giving experience means that your user is not expecting a Picasso masterpiece.

What made it challenging?

I found the very limited time given for the activities difficult. It was really challenging to find out enough information in a 4-minute interview. Also, I am terrible at arts and crafts! Trying to make a model of a prototype within a few minutes was very challenging. However, the limited time forced us to focus on just the critical things and not on every detail.

What did I learn?

I learned how important it is to understand the customer’s needs. It seems that many companies fall into the trap of assuming what their customer wants and what they need. Designers then make solutions for the wrong problem or problems that probably don’t even need to be solved! If only all the stakeholders could do this crash course, they would have first hand experience of why it is important to understand the root cause of customer’s needs and behaviours. Excel spreadsheets and funky charts can only tell you so much. To really understand people and their problems, you need to go talk to them.

Summing it all up

Overall, this was a very rewarding experience. I feel that even though I’m not specifically a designer, learning to understand my user / client is a essential skill for any job I go into. In fact, I think this is something anyone and everyone should try to do. It’s not just about being a designer for 90 minutes; it’s about learning to emphathise with the needs of the people you’re solving problems for. I would encourage anyone from any background to try  the d.school virtual crash course, even if you don’t think you’re creative or know much about designing. I’m not and I don’t, but I can promise it was heaps of fun!

“See the beer represents how food is an essential part of life and giving!"

“See the beer represents how food is an essential part of life and giving!”

Amanda Krulis

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 Amanda is a student at UNSW studying a Masters of Organisational Psychology. She is a new intern at Objective Digital and is striving to learn as much as she can about user experience. Amanda also loves spending time outdoors and skiing around the world. 

Objective Digital at the POPAI Professional Women’s Info-Drinks

Yesterday the female team members at Objective Digital joined the POPAI Professional Women’s Info-Drinks at the Hilton Hotel, where Stephanie Tam, State Sales Manager of Lorna Jane, shared the best shopper insights and strategies she picked up during her travel around the world as part of the Westfield’s 2013 Young Retail Study Tour.

Not surprisingly, early on in her presentation, Stephanie pointed out that retail experiences should be all about the customer.

“What makes your brand go round? – 360° retailing” (Stephanie Tam)

This should not come as news to anyone in the industry, however, Stephanie emphasised the fact that she found it difficult to find any retailer in Australia performing as customer experience oriented as she found in the rest of the world.

These were a few of the stand out companies Stephanie found during her trip:

1. Burberry

Burberry in London

Stephanie spoke about her experience in the Burberry flagshipstore in London. When trying on a pair of jeans in the change room, the screen in front of her showed her other items that would go with the jeans. When she selected them the sales person would be waiting outside the change room with those items ready to try on.

2. Warby Parker

Warby Parker in USA

Warby Parker – predominately an online company, opened a physical store to allow people to try on different styles of glasses, take photos, post photos and share it on social media and then place their order. In that store there is no inventory, rather orders are placed online and dispatched from a warehouse. Not only did the company successfully increase traffic to their website, this strategic move led to a huge increase in sales.

3. Kate Spade’s Pop Up Store

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Kate Spade in NYC

Taking window shopping to the next level by delivering a “different” experience to the customer, Kate Spade Pop Up window shops display the latest fashion on a touch screen display in front of a nicely decorated window. The customer can choose a product on the screen, which can then be delivered to any address in NYC within one hour. Transaction takes place through an app on the customer’s smart phone.

Other stores follow this same strategy:

4. This is Story

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“Story is a retail space that has the point of view of a magazine,

changes like a gallery and sells things like a store”

Located in New York, This is Story provides an experience to their customers that changes every six weeks. This strategy is exciting and lures their customers back into their stores on a regular basis.

In today’s fast paced and changing world, it is important for every company to be up to date and provide experiences that are relevant to customers on a daily basis.  A successful strategy today might be obsolete by tomorrow. Each and every company has to listen to their customers on a regular basis, test their services and products for improvements and change their offerings accordingly.

Last but not least, Stephanie pointed out the importance of ethical values of a company. Customers are after a great (purchasing) experience, however, they also strive for more sustainable values that leaves them with a satisfied feeling after their purchase. “Giving back” as part of their purchase experience is valued highly, and in today’s world a large percentage of customers are willing to stay loyal to a particular brand, evening spending an extra dollar or two to be apart of the larger community effort.

For example, Stephanie named Toms’ “One for One” programme that donates a pair of shoes every time a customer purchases one. Another great example of giving back to the local community is the Nike+ FuelStation Pop-up, located in a park in London. Nike provides a meeting place for runners, a place to hang out and get educated on all things fitness like running routes and eating plans. This space does not sell any Nike gear, but rather provides a sense of community to its customers.

To sum up, Stephanie presented a good case of the importance of considering the customer’s experience in every business strategies and that adapting to the changing environment in today’s world is key to successful operations.

This makes us proud of working in a company that is specialises in just that: Improving the customer experience from a 360 degree perspective – across all touch points!

Danielle Azar and Jasmin Kollinger