The Top 5 benefits of a UX review and how to go about it.

There are a multitude of ways a service, product, website or app can be reviewed or given a ‘health check’. These vary from expert reviews, heuristic evaluations, competitor analysis, contextual inquiries, usability testing, online surveys and more.

Research findings can help validate or squash internal debates or design ideas, and provide direction for long-term business roadmaps and strategic initiatives.

Here are a few reasons why a UX ‘health check’ or review can help your business:

  1. Validate your design and strategic roadmaps – Having a UX Review conducted through the lens of your customer is very eye opening. It highlights how your customers use your product and how best to optimise to their needs. Having this 3rd party validation on hand can provide teams with clear direction for iteration, design and development. Further, this research can provide all business units with insights into whether their strategies and roadmaps are aligned with their customer in mind.
  1. Increase in ROI (return on investment) – Small problems can lead to big dropouts or customer frustration, potentially costing the business huge amounts of money. Test early and often to iron out these issues and ensure customers can understand and use your product, meaning more click throughs and potentially higher returns.
  1. Decreased Bounce Rates – Speaking to your customers in a one-on-one environment can be both insightful and impactful for product teams. Often it’s not only how they use your product during testing, but learning about their motivations and behaviours – uncovering why they leave or bail out rather than complete or convert. These insights provide tangible guidance on how to develop a product which your customers will want to use, refer and return.
  1. Gain a Competitive Advantage – Conducting competitor reviews will provide insights on where you stand against your competitors. Combined with user testing, a deep understanding of the customer and their needs is obtained. A benchmarking exercise can also be conducted by applying these methods at different stages of product lifecycles, be it your own or your competitors. This is an effective way of measuring your progress over time with hard metrics and feature developments.
  1. Quick Wins with Low Cost – Whilst thorough research and user testing can provide deep understanding of your customers, an expert review is a fast and cost effective activity which, within 2-3 days can identify both fundamental issues as well as ‘quick fixes’ around possible user pain points and usability issues. These ‘quick fixes’ can be assessed and implemented in shorter turn around times if bigger, more robust re-designs are not part of the development strategy or pending release date.

The approaches mentioned can help a product once it’s in the market. However, the customer should always be involved in the end to end design process to ensure your product is offering maximum value.

For a Free 1 Day UX Review on the Top 5 Quick Wins for your App or Website please contact me for more information.

Myles Clemones
UX Consultant
Objective Experience
au.linkedin.com/in/mylesclemones/

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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

What’s in a name?

“Is there anything more important than your name?”

Paul Cave, AM – Founder and Chairman of Sydney BridgeClimb.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge by John Armytage.

Today, I heard an awesome story of perseverance, creativity, history, politics, measurement, customer experience and passion! The Sydney BridgeClimb is a truly customer centric organisation, driven from the top.

Paul, who has been an avid collector of Sydney Harbour Bridge memorabilia for decades, still reviews customer satisfaction scores for his business daily. He responds personally to all customer complaints and mandates that his staff learn and address all their clients with their first name.  That’s more than 3 million first names since inception in 1998.

Do you address your customers personally?

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

Visual storytelling in UX

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Good UX is all about understanding your customer, their needs, behaviours and motivations. Here at Objective we work hard to make sure that we understand our customers and their needs allowing them to understand the research insights that we gather through pictures, infographics rather than just relying on words alone.

For a recent project we conducted a whole series of contextual inquiries where we visited participants at their home, to really understand them and everything around them. Over a three hour visit the amount of insights that were collated was amazing and it is always difficult to know what to do with all that information.

Instead of producing a text heavy report we decided that a more effective way to present the rich insights was to produce a series of animated storyboards. Avoiding a ‘death-by-PowerPoint’ approach we illustrated the insights and stories from the research in a way which was approachable yet still immediately understandable.

The result is that the client can share insight-heavy research across multiple teams and they can immediately understand what the problem is and a deeper understanding of their customers and their needs. Although using the phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is slightly corny, these pictures can summarise 36 hours of research!

Reflecting on Steve Jobs & Apple’s Approach to User Experience

It was sad news that Steve Jobs lost his fight with Pancreatic Cancer last week. We wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the things that Jobs (and Apple) brought to usability and customer experience.

It is widely agreed that Steve Jobs designed “insanely great products”, many of which have revolutionised the way in which we interact with technology and create and consume digital content today. Many of these products could be described as ‘disruptive technologies’ i.e. technologies that were game changers disrupting existing markets. For example, the popularisation of the ipod and iTunes changing how we consume music, the Apple LaserWriter printer combined with true type fonts and PageMaker software (made by Aldus, now Adobe) started desktop publishing, making the mobile web accessible and sticky through it’s applications for the masses through the iphone etc. Apple products may not have always been the first of their kind but they were usually the first of their kind that were both easy to use and widely purchased. Whilst there were many engineers involved in the creation and design of Apple products, there can be no debate that Steve Jobs was an influential force in Apple’s successes.

In 1984 Jobs unveiled the Macintosh computer to a very excited audience which fast became the first commercially successful small computer with a graphical user interface and a mouse.

Steve Jobs introduces the Mac 1984

The Macintosh computer through its use of a graphical user interface and a mouse provided people with a mental model to understand how to use it through it’s metaphor of a desktop, folders and icons etc. It should be acknowledged that this new interface within the early Apple products revolutionised the usability of computers exponentially. Whilst many other engineers were solely focused on the technology, Jobs understood the value of considering the people you are designing technology for.This sentiment can be seen by the promotional material for The Lisa, the predecessor of the Macintosh, as “the personal computer that works the way you do”. From the iPad, to the iPhone, to the iPod, Jobs and Apple continuously delivered products that were easy to use and easy to love.

Jobs also understood the value of creating exceptional customer experiences. He infused Apple with a culture that valued design and cared about the details. According to Jobs: Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

This consideration of how things worked went beyond the design of products. Not only did Apple focus on the design of exceptional products, they also considered every part of the purchasing process, both before and after you open the beautifully designed box. Apple’s retail service has been meticulously considered and designed across the entire customer life-cycle. Got a problem with your Apple device? Make an appointment with the Genius bar where an Apple Genius will assist you. Need some help with how to use your new Macs’ inbuilt movie making software? Book in for some training. (NB The inclusion of software with computers too was an early Apple innovation). If you ring technical support and give them your serial number they will know your name and when your warranty expires. The personal service you get when you go to an Apple store and talk to a customer representative about your needs gives you confidence that you are investing in the right solution for you. It’s this understanding on the entire customer experience, the focus on ‘details’ and ‘how things work’ that make customers feel valued and create customer advocacy. Apple makes buying their easy to use products easy.

This holistic approach can also be seen by Apples’ investment and evolution of iTunes and it’s associated services and sister products. Through iTunes, Apple was able to develop a content and product eco-system (a Product-Service-System) combining their products with services, creating a lucrative business model which others are trying to emulate. Through a tightly coupled integration between multiple hardware devices, media storage, indexing, acquisition and consumption, Apple has all bases covered. With iTunes and it’s associated devices one can discover, purchase, download and then consume content in minutes, on one device without leaving your armchair. The fact that you can even purchase and consume media through iTunes on your PC is testimony to the fact that they think beyond just their products.

This meticulous attention to detail, a focus on how thing work, the requirement for well designed products, and the intentional design of customer interactions across multiple touch-points all contribute to superior customer experiences and unprecedented customer advocacy for Apple. Further, we can all thank Steve Jobs for popularising the idea amongst his business contemporaries that better design makes both sense and cents (well more like dollars)!

Steve Jobs was a true innovator, a brilliant designer who really understood what people need and a remarkable entrepreneur. Thank you Steve, you will be missed.

Jax Wechsler, October, 2011.

OD FAQs | How do you convince the executive of the value of user experience design?

During the AIMIA Digital Customer Experience forum, that I chaired this morning, there was considerable discussion about how to justify the work UX people do and have it accepted as part of the business culture.  Difficulties with acceptance often occur in large enterprise where traditional cultures are strong and therefore it is difficult to update process. However, the landscape is changing.

I have been encouraged in recent years that enterprise has accepted the importance of customer (and staff) research during the product development process.  Companies like Telstra, Fairfax, Sensis, News Corp, Westpac, BT Financial and CBA have their own internal customer experience teams.  Most importantly, these teams are not just working on website and mobile apps. The great ones are shaping the entire business! UX Leads are overseeing product design, not just focussing on the digital bits. 

Another trend for these teams, that has been slow to take off in Australia, is the consideration of more than just the technology interaction during the design process.  Great UX teams are thinking about how the entier customer journey is ‘designed’. Here’s a concept from Opher Yom-Tov, from BT Financial and previously IDEO.

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 The design of a train, in Opher’s example, did not just consider the configuration of the carriage and seating. You can see in the image that the “Train Ride” is the 8th step in the process. If you don’t design the 7 steps before that, then the passenger might not even board the train!

So how do companies make this happen?

One project at a time.
Don’t use too many motherhood statements of user experience principles and try to preach them to the uninitiated. Instead do a project, do it properly and incorporate processes that engage users on the journey.  The outcomes will speak for themselves.

Inform.

Seb Chan from The PowerHouse Museum, reckons that sharing results of research is an important part of the UX sales process. Even if you don’t have to, make sure that everyone knows that there is customer research available in a central repository (and that they can access it). The way that Seb encouraged sharing at the Powerhouse was to set up internal company blogs, where people began regularly sharing their insights from different projects. These blogs became so popular that they are now open to the World!

Teach.

Opher suggested that you should treat the project as an education process where the business and technical stakeholders and project team members are taught what UX design means and why it is important. At project team meetings let people know what they are there and what each step will do for the project. When customers are engaged in the project take photos, these will be useful later, when you need to show everyone what you did.

Once these projects are launched and the business sees success the exec will come round to the user experience way of thinking.