COVID-19 has shifted the manner in which we interact with each other and with our surroundings—in ways both large and small. The physical health of themselves and their families are the top concerns of consumers worldwide, and this shift in their thinking has accelerated the growth of the contactless economy. A recent report from Deloitte, “Contactless Economy: Are you prepared?” defines five drivers of the contactless economy that will persist far beyond the COVID-19 crisis:
Hyper-awareness of health and safety
Digitally enabled consumers’ maintaining a sense of normalcy
5G as the force multiplier
The rise of the human-experience platforms
The rise of the new cloud native-enabled technology architectures
Many are focusing on consumers who are operating in the contactless economy through robotic deliveries or online payments. However, we’re not giving sufficient attention to the day-to-day painpoints of users’ shared experiences such as ATMs and other shared kiosks. Nevertheless, we can easily address these daily challenges through advances in cloud native-enabled technology.
QR Codes Lead The Way
In 2019, there were 3.2 billion smartphone users worldwide. The widespread adoption of smartphones is empowering people all over the world to go contactless, allowing them to supplement the touching of shared surfaces through the use of a personal, connected device such as a phone or tablet.
Another key component of this entire process is Quick Response technology, otherwise known as the QR code, which is a type of barcode. QR technology was first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. There’s a good chance you’ve come across QR codes in your daily life.
An obvious example of the adoption of this technology has come from the restaurant industry. Throughout last year’s pandemic, many restaurants turned to QR codes, using them to supplement or even replace their physical menus, which usually go from table to table, person to person. In another great example of the adoption of QR codes, ExxonMobile has brought QR-enabled payments to more than 11,000 gas stations across the US. Drivers can simply use their smartphone to scan a QR code to make their payment.
Integrating QR codes with Native Applications
The use of QR technology to facilitate mobile payments is a great step forward in advancing the contactless economy. This technology has removed friction, empowered consumers, and elevated the overall customer experience. However, Exxon’s use of CR codes does not deliver a fully contactless experience because customers still need to select their fuel grade and so on by hand. While this example doesn’t describe a situation in which a 100% contactless experience is feasible, there are so many others in which it could be.
Creating a 100% contactless experience is possible through native applications or Web pages on connected devices. Consumers can use their smartphone to scan a QR code to trigger the opening of an app or Web page, then proceed with the task at hand. This is the best way to completely eliminate the common use of shared surfaces and controls, while also providing the best service possible to customers.
Imagining a 100% Contactless User Experience
Although a 100% contactless experience might not be possible for everything, the number of scenarios in which a 100% contactless experience is not only feasible but would be the ideal way to go seems endless. Perhaps you can envision going to an ATM, scanning a QR code, and triggering the bank’s app, which would then let you enter your pin number, select what you would like to do, and remotely control the ATM from your connected device.
What if you were inside a shared space such as an elevator? You could simply scan a QR code, trigger the lift app, and select your floor. Perhaps if you were at an airport, you might need to print your luggage tags from a kiosk. You could easily use your phone to scan a QR code, start up the airline’s app, and command the kiosk to print out your tags. Once again, all of these potential scenarios could be made possible by using a cloud native–enabled technology architecture to provide a flawless user experience for consumers.
The Importance of UX and UI Design
No matter what the business domain, a critical factor in the successful deployment and pairing of QR codes with native apps or Web pages is the creation of a high-quality user interface and a seamless user experience. The frictionless adoption of contactless user experiences is critical and requires that the process of using them be easy and efficient. Ease of use is paramount because the technology must appeal to all consumers and avoid feeling too high tech. The last thing you want to do is to overcomplicate an experience to which your customers have become accustomed over many years.
When developing native apps to pair with QR codes, make sure always to remember to design them with a specific purpose in mind. Never forget the Why behind the technology that you’re creating: helping people to meet their specific needs and, thus, improving their lives. Alleviating your customers’ concerns must always remain top of mind. This is not something that you should take lightly. Focusing on the user experience of contactless technology can ultimately guide you to creating a product that your customers love to use.
Renato has more than ten years of experience providing creative project management, aesthetic design, and strategy management to drive business development and client satisfaction. He understands the need to balance project objectives with creative aesthetics. In 2005, Renato began building his skills by attending the Sheridan Technical Center’s Multimedia Design Program. He worked in graphic and Web design for six years before becoming Creative Director at several large organizations, including a venture-capitalist firm from 2016–2018. Renato joined Very Big Things in April 2018. Read More