The User "Journey" Is Actually a Minefield

Enchanted by the success of experience-oriented companies like Apple and Uber, we all want to create the ultimate integrated customer experience in our apps. Many companies say customer experience is the most important way they’ll differentiate in the future, and we’re awash in consultant reports and webinars on how to create great experiences. But even the most beautifully crafted customer experiences often fail catastrophically when they come into contact with the real world. The problem is a basic misunderstanding of the lives of normal people. We research the needs of users and create elaborate “journeys” to solve their problems, all built around the assumption that customers will focus on the problem we want to solve for them, in the way we expect them to react. In real life, the average person is so distracted and hurried that they can devote only fragments of attention to a product or service. The customer journey, so elegant and straightforward when we sketch it on a whiteboard, is actually a random walk through a minefield of distractions and competing priorities. Creating a great experience requires a much higher standard for usability and simplicity than most people realize. In this session we’ll show video of what happens when great mobile apps and websites meet the real world. Watch people “in the wild” try to use Yelp to find a restaurant, or use a famous cooking site to shop for ingredients. We’ll cover typical causes of trouble, including misidentification of the customer’s real problem, failure to understand the context around the customer, and the amazing ability of busy people to ignore or misunderstand even the simplest instructions.

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This talk was recorded at AltConf 2015. Watch all the videos!

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Michael Mace

Michael Mace

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