Archive for August, 2012

Research and faster horses

Friday, August 24th, 2012

I think this is the best response to the statement – “Why ask customers? They don’t know what they want.”

Steve Jobs never asked. And as we all know, Henry Ford said that if you did ask customers you wouldn’t have gotten the car, just a faster horse.

As Brian Solis writes in the linked article, sometimes customers do know what they want, sometimes they don’t. But if you don’t ask you won’t know. And if you do ask you might discover inspiration for your next innovation:

Other byproducts of good research include the ability to feel customer empathy and translate it into inspiration

Research on the ‘Perception Gap’ by Pivot reveals that 76% of marketers feel they know what their customers want yet only 34% have asked customers – giving rise to the title of the research presumably.

There’s an arrogance associated with not doing innovation research. And if you aren’t Steve Jobs (no-one is), then this arrogance will distance you from what customers want and need (whether or not they can articulate it exactly), leaving your business less relevant and competitive than it once was.

Developing an experience strategy

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

What is an experience strategy?

Experience Strategy = Business Strategy + UX Strategy*

It’s why your business is developing products and services the way it is, not just what.

Why would you need one?

1. Helps you evaluate new products and features in light of the goals of your business as well as the value to the user.

The strategy that you develop for your product ought not evolve in isolation. Even though the value of user experience is clear, your over-arching reasons for providing something should be considered with equal weight.

Mental Models, Indi Young

2. Bridge the gap between brand promise and experience 


3. “The experience is the product”

It’s simply how you succeed in today’s experience economy

How do you develop one?

Start with the customer perspective. As we can see from the 7 dimensions of customer experience, this really is a business-wide challenge. Strating with customer perspective helps take out office politics and focus different departments on a common goal.

You may want to develop a mental model. As Indi Young points out:

A mental model helps you visualize how your business strategy looks compared to the existing user experience. Thus, it is a diagram that can support your experience strategy.

While technology and operating conditions might change quickly, mental models change slowly (providing a welcome anchor in a hectic world).

Map business goals and strategy against user mental models to see how they compare.


*Jesse James Garrett, “Experience Strategies — The Key to Long-term Design Value.”

Mapping the Whole Experience

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Have been revisiting Indi Young’s Mental Models recently. In one section she urges readers to ‘Pay attention to the whole experience’ when building up a model of user experience.

The “whole experience” includes all the ways an organization interacts with its users: stores, account statements, customer service calls, product ordering web sites, packaging, and so forth.

The reason to do this is to gain competitive advantage:

Businesses that pay attention to the entire spectrum of customer interaction, and get it right most of the time, win attention and loyalty. Because the mental model depicts the whole of the user’s environment—it is not focused on one aspect, service, or tool—it represents the user’s perspective of the whole experience.

This echoes the call to pay attention to the 7 dimensions of branded customer experience that bridge the gap between brand promise and experience.

One of the applications of nativeye is to map all the points customers experience your product, service or brand – helping you to build user mental model based on real user data.

7 dimensions of the branded customer experience

Monday, August 6th, 2012

We’ve talked before about the challenge of bridging the gap between brand promise and experience. Here’s some more from the CIM report about the 7 areas that need to be aligned.

From Maz Iqbal:

According to the CIM: “Over the last fifteen years, the concept of branding has evolved from merely a design and communications-led ideal to one which runs far deeper into the DNA of an organisation. Today’s CMO has little choice but to acknowledge that whilst brands are built on promises, it’s the experience delivered that makes the difference between a myth and a reality.”  So how are marketers and the organisations they work for/within getting on in making this shift?

According to the research/report put out by CIM there are 7 key dimensions at the heart of the branded customer experience: strategic vision, leadership, customer-centricity, culture, operations, measurement and marketing clout. 

Read more about each of these 7 dimensions here