Until recently, I never saw the value in customer journey maps. In fact, throughout my career, I’ve even struggled with the value of personas and scenarios. Many times, stakeholders would just skim over them after our presentations or use them only to prove we were making progress on a project. Design teams, with the best intentions, made every effort to keep personas alive and breathing, only to succumb to other project pressures that demanded annotation, use cases, and itemized requirements.
So why have I written an article on the value of customer journey maps? How did I manage to reach the conclusion that customer journey maps are not only a worthy and effective tool, but also a crucial element on large, enterprise user experience (UX) projects? Because I saw them have a significant impact on a recent project with The Boeing Company, and I’m now a believer.
In this article, I’ll attempt to illustrate the virtues of customer journey maps, the necessary ingredients that make them an intelligent deliverable that encourages conversation and collaboration, and the role they can play in effecting real change in large organizations. Read More
Something is happening in the world of enterprise software development: design and user experience are becoming integral to business success. Over the last three years, IBM has hired over 1,000 designers globally and plans to hire 500 more by 2017. Venerable heritage brands such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s have plowed money into digital acquisitions and overhauls. From the very beginning at Amazon, Jeff Bezos has invested 100 times more cash in user experience than in advertising.
The reasons for this shift toward user centricity across the business spectrum are self-evident: businesses that invest in user experience see significant increases in market share and customer retention and decreases in customer-acquisition, support, and training costs. As numerous studies have revealed, investing a dollar in user experience returns between $2 and $100. In the 1970s, IBM’s second president Thomas Watson stated, “Good design is good business.”
However, for good design to transform business outcomes, good strategy must underpin it. According to a 2015 MIT Sloan report (PDF), digital strategy drives digital maturity, and UX strategy constitutes a significant part of that maturation process. Some business trends that have contributed to the importance of UX strategy today: the gap between consumer and enterprise software is getting smaller, and businesses have become omnichannel players. Implementing a UX strategy gives businesses the chance to reimagine themselves for a new era. Read More
In Part II of this series, I explained the benefits of breaking down user experience into its four elements—usability, desirability, adoptability, and value—and discussed ways of applying this framework to help you develop products that customers love. In Part III, I’ll discuss the relative importance of each of these four elements in driving UX success, according to the type of product your team is developing. Understanding the relative importance of the four elements is critical to correctly prioritizing product design and development efforts.
When assessing your product’s user experience, keep in mind that not all elements of user experience are of equal importance. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, a product’s usability often matters less than its adoptability, value, and desirability, because these three elements play a large role in getting users to start using the product. However, that’s not always the case; it depends on the type of product you’re developing. Let’s look at a few common product categories. Read More