Multi-Device Experience: Design for all Channels

In 2021 there were 4.66 billion active internet users. Almost everyone in the world has access to the internet, and it has become an essential part of everyday life for billions. Today you can access the internet in various ways through smartphones, PCs, TVs, tablets, and many more devices; as a result, companies are presented with the challenge of designing their user experience for all sorts of channels. A brand is considered a whole entity by customers, and they want to receive a unified experience. But how is this accomplished? And what are the critical elements of a cross-channel experience?

This blog will take a brief look at the multi-device experience and how designers can create for all channels.

Multi-Channel Experience

The crux of the multi-channel experience is about allowing users to engage via various channels and provide a unified experience.  48% of households have multiple personal computers, 43% own a tablet or e-book, and around 85% of adults own smartphones. So it is essential to allow users to switch from one device to another and still be able to interact with your product or service in a way that is an enjoyable and consistent matter where or how the users reach the design, there should be a cohesive user experience with seamless data transfer across channels. So what elements should we focus on when creating a cross-channel experience? Let’s take a closer look.

Elements of a Usable Cross Channel Experience

  • Consistency

First and foremost, we need to focus on consistency. Don’t surprise the customer by providing an inconsistent experience across each channel. Instead, place the customer at the center of the design process and create a unified experience that addresses their needs on each device. Some functional and visual optimization will have to be altered to ensure a high-class product, but elements such as navigation and content should generally remain consistent.

  • Availability

The omnichannel experience should be available across all touchpoints. Companies should allow their users to decide when and how to access their services. This means removing limits and ensuring maximum freedom with each channel.

  • Seamless Integration

Can a user start a task on one channel and complete it via another? This is called seamless integration. There should be a real-time data sync between all channels, enabling a seamless user experience.

  • Context Optimisation

You don’t need to deliver everything all the time. A context-driven perspective will help to improve the customer experience. For example, different devices may be better suited for other sorts of activities. Therefore, consistency across channels contexts will help customers get the most out of each experience.

 

Building a Cross-Channel Experience Strategy

The elements we need to focus on are clear. Now we should consider the actual steps designers can take to ensure they are incorporating these elements and building an actual cross-channel experience.

  • Common Goals: Before you implement anything, it is essential to align your team goals and metrics with its overall business goals. This will help designers measure performance, and it will simplify strategic decisions.
  • Map Customer Journey: Understand your users and customers. Draw a customer journey map to find out how they interact with your product or service. Which touchpoints are most popular?
  • Provide Value in Exchange for Data: If you ask for your users’ data, make sure you provide value in return. Know exactly what kind of data you’re collecting and understand how that information can improve the user experience.
  • Check for Redundancies: Look out for interruptions or disturbances in the user journey. Recheck the journey map and ensure a seamless data flow across all channels.
  • Measure, Analyse and Optimise: Collect data on standard metrics and understand whether the user experience you are delivering is living up to your expectations. Are your goals being met? Then you can continue to use the data to improve your existing strategies.
  • Communicate the Results: The final step is to communicate your results. Let your team and other teams know the results of your analysis and any other findings. Transparency across the organization will help you work towards common goals and refine your cross-channel user experience.

Design for all Channels

Creating a unified experience across all channels is an exciting challenge for brands. In today’s world, users have certain expectations.  Omni-channel synchronicity is important to users that interact with your product or service on various devices and via different channels. Building a cross-channel experience that incorporates all your product or service elements will be vital to expanding your user base and maintaining your success for years to come.

So, how do you design for all channels and deliver a consistently excellent UX? To learn more, get in contact with our UI and UX experts at Radiant Digital.


Why Usability is Vital: It Can Make or Break a Product

It’s probably safe to assume that almost everyone who regularly makes online transactions has experienced challenges or difficulties in usability. A button can’t be clicked. A particular link leads to an error page. The transaction won’t go through. There are too many steps to take. The mobile version doesn’t display all the content. The list of possible complaints could go on and on. Designers recognize that users will almost always take the path of least resistance - the least amount of effort that yields the ideal outcome. Human behavior optimizes. This then calls for products to optimize for human behavior. In UX design, this pursuit is called usability. 

Usability pertains to the degree of ease users can accomplish a set of goals with a product.  While frequently used interchangeably, usability is part of UX design. The former is the ease of use in completing a given task. The latter is the overall experience with the product.

What are the qualities of a product with good usability?

When users first encounter a new interface, they should accomplish their intended tasks without relying on somebody else. As an individual experience, highly usable products are effective, efficient, engaging, error-tolerant, and easy to learn. Think of them as the “5 E’s of Usability”.

  • Effective: Users can complete their tasks. Are users able to complete their tasks independently? What are the leading causes if users are unable to meet their functions?
  • Efficient: Users can complete their tasks through the easiest or most minor labor-intensive route. How fast are they able to complete their tasks? How many clicks and pages do they go through? Do they take steps or visit pages they’re not supposed to?
  • Engaging: Users find completing their tasks a pleasant experience. But, how do the users react while completing their tasks? Do they seem confused or annoyed on specific steps? Do they seem satisfied after the process?
  • Error-tolerant: Users can recover from genuinely erroneous actions and situations. Do they encounter error prompts even if they make a correct step? When users genuinely make a mistake, are they able to recover and return to the right page?
  • Easy to Learn: Users easily complete new tasks and even more quickly on repeat use. Does their first use of the product appear seamless? Where do they encounter bottlenecks or difficulty in the process? Upon repeating the steps or using the next iteration of the product, do users complete their tasks faster or more seamlessly?

How to test for usability?

Achieving these qualities of usability rarely comes on the first version of any product. Designers can’t wish away that their first try would be helpful enough to be shipped out. Product teams need to look out for flaws they might have overlooked and improve what could still be improved. This can only stem from Usability Testing, which is the process of testing the degree of ease in using a product.

Usability testing is different from focus groups, which is about listening to what participants say. In observing test users, it’s about what they do, not what they say. The types of usability testing depend on the complexity of the study, but they all entail the following features:

  • Representative users: Invite participants who are representative of the product’s core users.
  • Representative tasks: Ask the participants to perform the essential tasks of your product.
  • Action-centric: Observe what the participants do. Give more credence to their actions than their feedback.

Designers must aim to monitor and measure usability throughout the product lifecycle - from the time it starts as a wireframe, then as a prototype, when it’s shipped out, and as it continues in use. Depending on the need, product teams have an arsenal of usability testing methods they can choose from, each with its merit, as follows:

  • In-person: This is a formally structured, on-site, live-testing of users.
  • Remote: Users are in their environments, at home, for example, to catch more natural, on-field insights.
  • Guerilla: This testing is informally structured wherein product teams test their designs on passers-by and colleagues for quick insights. The data may be less accurate but can be quickly collected.

Why is usability so important?

User research at the beginning of the design process is almost as necessary as testing. This sets up assumptions about user profile and behavior that the prototyping and testing cycles will rely on. Further, user testing will be of no use if the insights are not incorporated into the product. Iteration is the consequence of user testing. Each new iteration should aspire to have solved a bottleneck, a bug, or any design flaw that causes headaches, which users, whether digitally savvy or otherwise, know too well.

When users encounter usability issues, especially so-called showstoppers, these could amount to time lost, missed opportunities, frustration, and loss of trust in the service they’re transacting with. The consequences could even be more severe when money is concerned, particularly with eCommerce sites, payment services, and banking apps. Minor tweaks in usability could save users from these kinds of exasperation. For product owners - the companies and organizations that deploy digital services - such implications could spell the difference in user growth, market share, brand reputation, regulatory compliance, and financial results. There are, of course, numerous considerations that influence a product’s success, such as business model, market conditions, technical and cybersecurity factors, among many others. However, usability is entirely within the control of any given organization and its product teams.

Usability as a business priority

Usability can make or break a product. Usability testing and the requisite iterations are how organizations can meet customer expectations in today’s highly digitized economy. Our experts at Radiant Digital can help your organization conduct usability testing and deliver your digital products. For more information on our digital transformation services, contact us today.


Crafting Seamless Enterprise Experiences with Omnichannel UX Design

UX design provides a gateway of convenient and intuitive interactions between a brand and a customer. A user perceives a brand as a single experience rather than a collection of different interactive channels. This calls for the delivery of consistent brand experiences through design through all the connected channels. As emerging technologies evolve, so do user expectations. Users have become more sophisticated where their benchmark for a good experience is higher than ever before. Nowadays, users need to interact with brands on various devices and prefer multi-channel engagement. The intelligent, minimal, and seamless design of products and services is the need of the hour. Thus, user journey-based converged and context-specific UX design can accelerate brand loyalty.

Omnichannel UX must put the user at the center of a seamless ecosystem. This environment should promote exceptional user engagements and 'loop' user experiences across channels aligned to their motivations and habits. Omnichannel UX design improves cross-channel engagements. It 'loops' their experience across channels aligned to the user's motivation and habits. According to Kim Flaherty from the Nielsen Norman Group, "Organizations must create omnichannel UX strategies to optimize the end-to-end user experience when completing a task across devices and interaction channels." This includes how customers will first hear about a brand, purchase it, and what after-sales support the company intends to offer.

An omnichannel design strategy should factor in the customer, employees, and the business. Often, companies forget about improving the experience of their internal applications for their employees. They need to weave experiences around enhanced employee productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty, thereby decreasing operating costs and employee turnover. At Radiant, we've outlined the best practices and examples of how your organization can create a top-notch employee experience. In addition to increasing sales and brand loyalty, it can help improve ROI, employee productivity, and satisfaction.

What is Omnichannel UX? 

Omnichannel UX is a design approach to ensure that users continue to enjoy a unified experience across all the channels connected to your enterprise platforms, digital applications, and websites.

The Need for Omnichannel Design

The goal of omnichannel design is to reduce the pain points resulting from an employee moving between channels and touchpoints. It offers a strategic omnichannel approach to direct users to act instantly on product/service triggers and motivations in a channel-agnostic environment. An Omnichannel design strategy helps focus on:

  • Establish and expand your brand presence in a minimalistic, unique, and user-friendly way.
  • Create consistent experiences across online and offline channels for payment processes, Data management, and other functions to improve internal employee & customer journeys.
  • Create frictionless and high-quality channel transitions.
  • Improve the brand's responsiveness to ad hoc customer/employee needs.
  • Increase design relevance and delivering bespoke experiences through proper R&D and A/B Testing.

Important Definitions

  • Touchpoints are app or product interaction points that take place between an employee and their organization. In an enterprise environment, it would be the tasks that the employees need to complete.
  • Channel is where the employee-business interactions take place. The modern omnichannel design differs from the traditional one in implementing a bidirectional approach to employee communication where simultaneously the business and system users can interact.

Five Tenets of Good Omnichannel Design

Omnichannel UX design helps create smooth transitions and exceptional experiences regardless of brand interactions. These six principles govern how Enterprise UX designs are shaped.

Consistency: Any UX needs to deliver consistent and meaningful experiences associated with your brand. The screens must be familiar and uniform, buttons must be consistent design and functionality-wise, while the tone of voice, homogenous. Consistency drives trust, comfort, and credibility.

Optimization: UX designs must be optimized to add clarity, purpose, and context to the interaction channel and user journey. Context and function-based optimization enable allows value maximization. It can also differentiate your organization and enhance employee engagement by leveraging technological capabilities that fit different channels.

Seamlessness: With the omnichannel design, the same employee experience standards should be available in all channels. A seamless design makes transitions between touchpoints frictionless and straightforward. Employees should be able to pause an activity and resume it later from an alternative touchpoint. This seamlessness offers a holistic, real-time view of the employee interface and backend integrations with all the channels.

Orchestration: The Omnichannel design must let the organization use data to anticipate user needs and display relevant content on the right channel on-demand.

Collaboration and Channel-Neutrality: Irrespective of the purpose, your design should allow employees to switch between touchpoints and see the same data and options across all the channels. A business driver for one channel may create a bad experience in alternative channels. This can be avoided when diverse touchpoints work in tandem to enrich the all-around employee experience without delays or interruptions.

Implementing Omnichannel Enterprise Experiences

The first step in enterprise UX design implementation using the above principles includes learning more about the target users. A/B Testing helps understand your users' expectations, preferences, and context-specific behavior. Analyzing data from interviews and surveys (UX research) is also crucial in determining the best channel types to access content and functionalities in an enterprise system. After designing an omnichannel experience, you must measure the employee cross-channel interactions using KPIs and metrics. This helps improve the transitions between multiple channels.

Here's how omnichannel UX experts at Radiant Digital apply the above tenets to internal enterprise design.

Making channels consistent: We ensure that users don't have to reorient themselves when switching to a new channel. This is useful for tasks that employees don't use that often.

  • We provide consistent iconography and layout for different channels.
  • We use a design system or style guides based on the resources available across all channels in an organization.

Making touchpoints Optimized: We ensure the core experience of any channel is the same while the content and features are specific to their context of use. If two employees with different roles and responsibilities use a shared channel, we ensure they see only the relevant touchpoint.

  • We set up user roles as per the employee's organizational position and authorized channel tasks.

Making Channels Seamless: If users have to complete a task, they may need to navigate different channels. We design the UX interface to meet each subtask and redirect the user to the location where they need to execute the next subtask. The user should not have to recall which step they were at and open and close applications.

  • We create guided flows that take users through the workflow without worrying about where they are or what they need to do.
  • We design the flow for requests and approvals within the application, along with status updates. This way, users don't need to contact their supervisors outside of their working application.

Enabling Orchestration in individual Channels: Orchestration primarily implements automation and data analytics to simplify an employee's workflow.

  • We implement the pre-population of information (auto-fill capabilities) required by a particular user on a specific channel.
  • We employ built-in automation for repetitive tasks by integrating the core system modules with RPA software.
  • We use data analytics and business intelligence to get visibility and direction on what work needs to be done next by the employee.

Collaborative Design: This includes determining whether the channels work together for a unified experience in a related group. We assess if the employees can share and collaborate easily with other users throughout their workflow.

  • We identify the workflow areas and optimize their handoff to the next person in the task flow.

Omnichannel Buy-in

  • Omnichannel design requires a multi-area understanding of the business and catering to multiple teams.
  • Designers need to map out and measure the ROI of an omnichannel UX design based on the current workflows.
  • Departmental silos primarily impact the seamlessness and consistency of an employee's workflow. It can be jarring to navigate applications when the style systems and context differ from another employee application.
  • Leadership buy-in is essential to cater to the above needs. It also ensures seamless team collaboration in omnichannel enterprise design.

Retrospective

Designing omnichannel experiences help provide 360-degree engagement between employees and organizations. A design team's victory lies in building accurate omnichannel designs around people and their needs using backend platforms and APIs. An omnichannel user experience positions your design to offer fluid and customized interactions. When you embrace omnichannel enterprise design as a UX designer, you must be in a position to transform employees into brand ambassadors. Connect with our omnichannel UX experts to learn more!