Mark Jones is the CEO and Founder of Giant iTab, and has been on the judging panel of the UK Digital Experience Awards for the last four years.
In this role, he has seen some of the most progressive innovations in the industry, and in an exclusive article for CXM he offers insight into what he thinks makes a great Digital Experience…
In my opinion innovation in Digital Experience industries should be seamless – almost unnoticeable until further reflection is called for.
Outside of the world of Customer Experience, think of recent innovations that have morphed effortlessly into our lifestyle. The majority have done so by combining things we already know, with something else we know: wheels on suitcases, music search and playback added to phones…these are easily adoptable because they are intuitive.
Innovation within the experience industry is much the same. As a business owner whose products straddle the worlds of ‘digital’ and ‘experience’, I’ve seen experience creators use digital to augment the experience, or virtually transfer them out of it.
I’ve seen innovation get in the way of experience, as much as enhance it. The ones that work, like with all innovations, work because they are almost unnoticeable.
In my mind, the word intuitive cannot be underused. I see customers as people that are entering our worlds or our businesses without pre-training or preparation; if this is the case, we need to be empathetic and make this experience easy first and enlightening second.
To do this takes intuitive behaviours, from being presented in the right language, to having a degree of familiarity to it. What we ask them to do should be easy to pick up and use; if it doesn’t it’s a barrier, not an experience.
Intuitive digital technology is not easy to create, believe me, I know! It’s the classic iceberg analogy: the 90 percent under the surface creates the 10 percent that the customer actually engages with.
But the 90 percent is incredibly complex. It takes time, effort, thought, expertise, and investment. In my mind, the entries that combine these skills to create something ‘remarkably simple’ are those that gravitate toward awards glory.
Creating simplicity is a real skill, especially in the world of tech. All too often we get carried away with the coding, the building, the skill we employ to make the thing we make do what it is supposed to do.
We get so caught up in our own ‘genius’ that we lose track of the customer; our product becomes more about ‘us’ than ‘them’.
At this point it may be great tech, but it’s not great Customer Experience technology.
On a recent BBC programme on Britain’s best inventions, there were the classic examples: mobile phones, world-wide web, and the like.
But there were also some surprising ones, such as concrete, and the chosen ‘winner’, antibiotics. For me, these are the innovations that deserve recognition; they have been completely original, yet so easily infiltrated into our society that we barely notice them at all.
Yet, the science, innovation, complexity, and work that it takes in creating these two seismic inventions is almost baffling.
The same is true of the very best Digital Experience innovation. Myself and my group of fellow judges have, over many years, garnered enough knowledge to understand just how much work ‘simplicity’ takes. We see the lovely chassis on top, but understand there is complexity under the hood.
Every year we are seeing stronger and stronger entries in the UK Digital Experience Awards and across the board the technology and digital know-how is unparalleled.
But it is the simple solutions that are the most noticeable, and the ones that get myself and the other judges animated.
If Customer Experience is anything, it’s an empathetic process and these are the businesses and individuals who, no matter how smart they are, always remember to put the customer at the heart of the experience.