Built for Use: Driving Profitability Through the User Experience: Driving Profitability Through the User Experience [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Karen Donoghue & Michael Schrage
eBook Category: Business
eBook Description: The big winners in the eBusiness arena are those who practice customer-centric design. More than simply a matter of jazzy graphics, customer-centric design is about earning the trust and loyalty of a dedicated customer base by making the quality of the user experience the centerpiece of the total online strategy. As illustrated by the examples of the many big winners covered in this book, for those who practice customer-centric design, the online user experience is a major part of a company's value. And, as shown by the experiences of the many dot-com also-rans cited, anything less than a total commitment to the user experience is, at best, an expensive, humbling exercise in futility. While there are a multitude of books on the art and science of user interface and Web site design, until now none has focused on the online user experience from the corporate strategist's and marketing manager's perspectives. The first guide to linking business strategy with the art and science of online user experience, Built for Use offers a total approach to the planning and development of ebusiness experiences that build long-term customer loyalty and drive long-term profits. Drawing upon her experiences as a user-experience strategist for numerous Fortune 1000 firms, Karen Donoghue explores key business strategy and user-experience issues in a concise, jargon-free style for nontechnical managers. With the help of fascinating and instructive before-and-after case studies from State Street Corporation, Fidelity Investments, Trellix Corporation, and other major players in the ecommerce arena, Donoghue makes a strong business case for customer-centric design practices. She describes user experience and design-strategy best practices for everything from putting together and managing an interdisciplinary team dedicated to delivering superior user experience to measuring the design strategy success and ensuring continued customer satisfaction. Built for Use is required reading for marketing professionals at companies actively pursuing an online presence, as well as for the development teams with which they collaborate.
eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies/McGraw-Hill, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2002
"The best interface is the absence of one. I am not a user; I am me. It is about time that designers of digital experiences thought hard about why a dog has so much more interface intelligence than any computer. It is about time that senior executives realized that quality of an experience is their business. Said differently, the icing is the cake."--Nicholas Negroponte, Founding Director, MIT Media Laboratory, Author of Being Digital
"Read this book if you want to learn why your company may be electronically rude to its customers today and how to avoid it in the future. Karen Donoghue is a thought leader and expert who helps companies evaluate and design user experiences that welcome and engage their customers. Her deep experience, knowledge, and insights are captured in this insightful book. It should be a must-read for every executive, manager, and designer who cares about the relationships their company is developing with its online customers."--Hans Peter Brondmo, Digital Impact Fellow, Author of The Engaged Customer
"Design sense, and sensibility, are all-too-rare rare qualities. Karen Donoghue has them innately and in abundance. Her user interface designs have a hallmark simplicity and elegance that belie a lifetime of insight and observation of the real ways that real people relate to complex information technologies. In Built for Use she shifts her incisive design eye from the intimate area of person/machine interfaces to the vast field of business interactions. The result is a lucid look at business interfaces with real products, real services, and real customers."--Michael Hawley, Director of Special Projects, MIT
Co-director of the MIT Media Laboratory
Author, Serious Play
Innovators innovate. Marketers market. Designers design. Salespeople sell. That's the organization given. The challenge is to align those arrays of skill, talent, and competence in formats that make sense to the organization and actually make money from the customer.
That's a hard problem. It's particularly hard to create alignment not because people don't care about customers and clients, but because nearly everyone has his or her own (legitimate) point of view about what should work. The Net makes it easy to embrace a hodgepodge of different POVs onsite. The result is the typical Web experience, something that looks as intuitively obvious and easy as riding a bicycle. You realize it's not so easy after you've fallen down, gotten kicked off, and gotten irritatingly lost for the third straight time in ten minutes.
We can talk about "leadership" and "customer-centricity" until the cows comes home and NASDAQ hits 5000 again, but we will be missing the key point that Karen Donoghue so artfully makes in this book. We create innovative user experiences by creating innovative metrics that challenge our creativity rather than force us into slavish compliance with inflexible requirements. We create value by having values -- and having the courage and rigor to communicate these values in our designs.
If everyone has the same "customer-centric" concerns and comparable "customer-centric" metrics, we end up with the Web experience as a commodity. Don't get me wrong: Commodities can be wonderful things. Some of my best friends are commodities. You can even make money selling commodities. But don't think for a moment that you can build a unique brand character or a unique customer relationship if the experience you provide looks and feels like that of everyone else. We create value-added experiences through differentiation, not commoditization. The interplay between the standard and the unique is absolutely critical, and this is a theme that Karen comes back to again and again. It matters.
Sure, the book has terrific anecdotes and case studies. Yes, it has the crisply expressed and well-prioritized checklists. But what matters most to me in this text is that there is a design sensibility that is rigorously tested and measured against expectations. The recommendations here are the beginning of the design dialogues, not their conclusion. What makes this work is the design integrity that insists we have to measure even the qualitative and touchie-feelie stuff that designers aren't supposed to want to measure.
The reality, of course, is that the marketplace is the ultimate arbiter of the (economic) effectiveness of our designs and experiences. That said, you want to go to market where the metrics and heuristics you're using make it easier for you to get the best out of your colleagues and customers rather than get in the way. By respecting the hard realities of the design process, Karen has made it an order of magnitude easier for organizations to craft compelling design realities of their own.
So is the problem of creating compelling Web experiences effectively "solved"? Of course not. In fact, this book creates a brand new problem for its readers: Do they have the guts -- not the creativity, the guts -- to hold themselves accountable for the quality of their design collaboration? The readers who do will be transformed; the readers who don't, won't, or can't will have to live with the understanding of what they're missing -- and what their customers are missing.
The View Toward the Future
The trends covered in this book suggest that companies must address the issue of how to deliver an equilibrium of value -- for the firm and for customers -- through the user experience. Trends in technology, medicine, and science are moving toward a scale that is smaller than a human being. Indeed, DNA sequencing, stem-cell research on embryos, and nanotechnology that enables the design of microelectronics in a test tube are happening daily -- but we still need to keep focused on the human being who is having the experience with technology. The human-scale experience will remain critical even as we resolve to ever-smaller scales of technology.
In my work as a strategic planner, I am asked to design many types of user experiences. I may be working with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to design an experience architecture to deliver the collection of British art and design for a multilingual audience using new kinds of technology. Or I might be asked to design a new equities trading system for Fidelity Investments. Regardless of what I am asked to design, my initial approach is always the same, and I begin by asking the following questions:
- Who is the end user?
- What's the value proposition of the experience?
- What is the best experience that will deliver value to the user?
- What are the measures of success in the experience?
This book is not meant to stifle innovation or to prevent innovators from coming up with novel experiences. It's meant to help guide strategic planning and development toward the goal of delivering a return on investment, something we all sorely need in this post-dot-com era. Not all good user experiences are designed to satisfy a business case. Some user experiences -- Napster, for example -- are highly successful user experiences that don't necessarily produce a return on investment (ROI). The measure of success depends on the intended goal.
I wrote this book to answer many of the questions about user experiences that executives and practitioners have asked of me in the past few years. I have often found it difficult to explain to people at parties, or to prospective clients, exactly what it is that I do. I hope this book will help.
With that, let's begin to analyze why user experiences are important to business and should be tied more closely to profitability.
Amidst the turbulence of the market, successful firms still understand that regardless of the technologies used, the ultimate end users are people, who don't evolve as rapidly as technology.
Copyright © 2002 by Karen Donoghue