Let's talk difference in digital customer experience
So now that we have set the scene, it’s time for the big questions.
Does consistent UX make a difference to your marketing strategy?
“Absolutely,” Katsu says, “because it's so important from the user's point of view. Take Gmail, for example, whose mobile and desktop versions have completely different user experiences. You don't want to put people through an unnecessary extra learning curve.”
A recurrent font or logo in a campaign also needs to appear in the mobile application. "But if the app has a completely different purpose, insisting on consistency can actually lead to a poor user experience," Katsu warns.
Martijn believes that a consistent UX should make the end user's life easier: "Consistency can make an app or website far more accessible and allow people to reach their goal much faster. And the better your app or website is, the more your marketing campaign can highlight that your user-friendly app will make people’s lives that much easier."
Consistency can make an app or website far more accessible and allow people to reach their goal much faster
senior User Experience Architect at Duke & Grace
Can a certain method really make the difference between a good or a bad UX?
To answer this question, Martijn first highlights the difference between Waterfall and Agile. "Waterfall involves a lot of research: you look at the needs, you create something and you hand it to the developers: job done. Agile is much more about iteration, doing small bits, testing them and then adjusting your objectives and features. At the start of a project, it is often difficult to immediately understand all the nuances and to get a clear picture of the users' needs. Iterations give you the space you need to do preliminary research and to make adjustments as well."
Katsu thinks Waterfall is fine at first, particularly in the research phase: "The more research you do, the more you find out about a situation. It also gives designers a lot more insight into the client’s needs and issues. But as soon as you start looking for a practical solution, you have to go with Agile. Because in the end, everyone benefits from going live as quickly as possible."
Of course the method also depends on the type of project, the phase and the organisation: "There’s no point in suddenly imposing Agile on people who are not used to it. That will not end well."
How can launching an MVP make a difference to the UX?
Katsu feels this certainly has an impact on the quality of the product. "You learn fast and also make mistakes. But that's perfectly fine, because that gives you quality input to keep improving your product." It also puts the stakeholders at less risk, even though they don't always realise it: "The mindset is often that we need to get things right first time, but then it is far more likely that you launch something that is wrong and you need to spend more money to get it right."
For Martijn, MVP is very much about making super-conscious choices. "It’s important that a company keeps an overall goal in mind without immediately thinking about the solutions. The classic MVP example is that you start with, say, a skateboard, which then turns into a bicycle, a moped, and eventually a convertible car, even though you may have set out to build a jeep in the beginning.”
You have to bear in mind the long-term goal and trust that you will get there in small steps: "you need to trust the process". Both men are firm believers in this.
The mindset is often that we need to get things right first time, but then it is far more likely that you launch something that is wrong and you need to spend more money to get it right
Katsuyuki (Katsu) Nagatani
Head of User Experience at Belfius bank
How can data make the difference in UX?
"Any input that offers insight into user behaviour is valuable," Katsu says, “but you have to be able to use that data correctly. That is often where the problem lies. Belfius has a huge amount of data, but it doesn't always reach us in the right way, or it takes too long, or the data is too raw and therefore not very useful."
According to Martijn, data from customers or visitors of a website or portal can be extremely valuable. “But very often there is no data cohesion or interaction. Organisations really need to think about that a lot more. What use is this data to us? And how can we enrich that data and leverage it for new features or improvements, or even completely new products?"