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Dispelling 5 Myths About Experience Design

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Traditionally, low consumer expectations and a lack of competition allowed brands to coast on lackluster customer experiences. But in today’s digital age, creating memorable and effective experiences isn’t an option – it’s a requirement.

The fundamentals of experience design are shifting, a movement beckoning the careful examination of several common misconceptions related to experience measurement, design standards, advanced analytics, consistency, and interchangeability with CX/UX. Through a recent report, we've identified five dimensions that brands should focus on in order to create a customer experience that strengthens the brand, builds loyalty, and drives results. In addition, we offer several practical recommendations about how brands can avoid common pitfalls through user-centered research, strategic metrics, and constant evolution.

Check out the companion infographic above for some snackable tidbits from the report that you can share and then download the full PDF for free at

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Dispelling 5 Myths About Experience Design

  1. 1. 5 MYTHS ABOUT EXPERIENCE DESIGN DISPELLING In a world where digital interactions pervade almost every experience that customers have with a brand, business leaders can’t afford to get user experience (UX) wrong. In order to achieve effective user experiences, a critical success factor is to avoid falling prey to the following five experience design myths. 1 MYTH YOU CAN’T REALLY MEASURE EXPERIENCE A typical assumption that we run across is that experience design is about touchy-feely impressions and, therefore, is hard to measure. MYTH DESIGN STANDARDS YIELD SUCCESS Believing that a product experience is "usable" when its process is intuitive, many brands standardize their design patterns based on conventions and user expectations in order to ensure a good, consistent user experience. BUSTING THE MYTH SOLUTION All it takes is a clear understanding of solution goals, and a selection of metrics and targets that are good indicators of those goals. The outcomes of the measurement that follows represent your ROI in user experience – what we call “return on experience,” or RoX. There are many sound ways to measure experience UX professionals can employ a host of direct metrics ranging from behavioral metrics – quantifying consumer activity through instrumentation and observation – to subjective metrics that quantify end-user reactions to the experience. BUSTING THE MYTH SOLUTION We analyzed and reviewed digital solutions built on well-regarded standards and found that they often offer poor user experiences. These digital solutions might superficially look familiar, but they don’t do the job when it comes to actual usage. Standards are necessary, but not sufficient Through a combination of direct research and know-how, smart brands can choose where to improve the experience by building well-crafted experience frameworks and content taxonomies reflective of the user's world, needs, and motivations. 3 MYTH ANALYTICS ALONE REVEAL USER NEEDS As analytics specialists become de rigueur in most large organizations today, brands might assume that forming insights about user needs and motivations follows naturally from activity and site-log analysis. BUSTING THE MYTH SOLUTION Activity and site logs illustrate what end users are doing, but not why: For example, if users tend to use a mobile phone inside a store to learn about a specific product on the shelf, then it may be due to the lack of effective in-venue digital support, rather than an explicit desire to do product research on a mobile device. Analytics need to be supplemented with qualitative research To improve the overall experience, rather than just users' interactions with a touchpoint, analytics should be supplemented with consumer research and insights methods, such as contextual inquiry, digital ethnography, and participatory design. MYTH CONSISTENCY = THE SAME In the spirit of consistency and under the assumption that this approach will lead to good UX, brands often use responsive design to provide the same experience across devices. BUSTING THE MYTH SOLUTION Without thinking about context, many brands inappropriately apply sameness to various design elements on their websites, thereby creating clumsy user experiences. “Consistent” does not mean “the same” Propagating look and feel, as well as tone and voice, across devices makes sense. But a consistent experience across devices also entails explicitly tuning the interactions to the device and context of usage. MYTH CX LEADERS CREATE GREAT USER EXPERIENCES With today's tremendous emphasis on digital and cross- channel experiences, it is expected that providing great digital user experiences would be a prerequisite for a high customer experience (CX) ranking, especially among technology companies. BUSTING THE MYTH SOLUTION Even CX leaders have many opportunities to improve their digital user experiences. The basic principles of usability and interaction are key in delivering great UX, yet CX leaders aren’t always delivering against these best practices. UX is still wanting in CX leaders Leading in user experience demands a focus on learnability, ease of use, and productivity — along with ensuring that users are aware of what actions are possible and how to select those actions. MYTH BUSTING THE MYTH “The fold” is a term adopted from newsprint media, referring to the physical crease of a folded newspaper. In its face-up position, only the content above the fold is visible and can initially catch the attention of the viewer. In our studies over the years, we’ve noticed a dramatic behavioral shift from clicking to scrolling. Consumers electing to view lists of content in a single page outnumbered those preferring pagination. Place important content above the fold The fold is nonexistent or irrelevant MYTH BUSTING THE MYTH Many brands are jumping at the idea of presenting all of their primary content on a single, long home page, rather than having users click on links to various pages. Long scrolling pages are great for storytelling. To support people’s need to be a part of – and in control of – the story, however, today's sites should allow users to decide how and when they encounter content (e.g., classic web hierarchies). Long scrolling home pages are effective Long scrolling pages tell a linear story THE WAY FORWARD CONTROL Allow users to accomplish what they intend without being restricted by policies, procedures, etc. ACCESS Give users full, unfettered access to all of the information and resources they need to make decisions. FIT Fit into users’ lives, whenever users need them, at any time, on any device. SENSE Make users feel connected and look forward to your digital experiences. CONTINUITY Enable users to stop what they’re doing and then pick up where they left off later without any difficulty. Achieving breakthrough experience design relies on a strong, flexible, and user-centered research and strategy process, along with the right mix of talent. SapientNitro’s Return on Experience (RoX) DimensionsTM define the five key characteristics of user experience that brands must consider when shaping their stories. For more details on SapientNitro’s long journey through the field of experience design, download our report on the same topic at 2 4 5