25. September 2020

Tap, tap, tap, swipe – and the customer’s gone.

Tap Tap Swipe

Digital Design // In the context of time: new technologies create new use cases. How do you resolve the unmet needs of your customer?

The Nokia from the year ti&m was founded vs. modern  smartphones. From cell phone to smartphone. 15 years full of changes, new opportunities, and use cases.  
The smartphones we are now used to carrying around with us represent a very different set of technologies. It is perfectly nor-mal to have “contextual interfaces” for more and more types of data, conversational interfaces with hardware such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, or the Apple HomePod, and software/voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Now, and Siri. Other new tech-nologies including AR, VR, MR, big data, AI, NFC, and wearables have become widespread. We have also seen the advent of “pure players,” and our world is becoming increasingly “connected,” whether at home, in our car, at the movies, or out shopping. The catchphrase here is Internet of Things (IoT). 
The world has also become increasingly fast­paced: we live in the age of stories, stories, and yet more stories. By this I mean  WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok – even the daily news broadcast has started using this format. Studies have shown that the attention span of the younger generations lasts just a few seconds. Tap. Tap. Tap. Swipe. Gone.  
In short, customer journeys are becoming increasingly complex, and requirements for design and digital product development in general just keep growing. The solution is to consider digital services from a more holistic standpoint. This approach is founded in a combination of new models of users’ thought processes, in-creased expectations of digital services, and the growing num-ber of potential touchpoints. For every channel, therefore, it is necessary to ask yourself how you can best transform your  offering into a brand experience.   
To meet these requirements, we at ti&m always look at the big picture when it comes to digital services. This ensures that the customer, brand, and user experience are as closely matched  as possible.

ti&m therefore covers the entire value chain for design, so as to develop the perfect products. 
We differentiate the aspects of our user-centered work into the following areas:  

1. Strategic design forms the basis of our work. At this level, we help companies find out what their users actually want. We identify not only their needs, but also what is referred to as  “unmet needs,” nailing down what is required from products and services. We do this using traditional research and analysis techniques, for instance, qualitative user interviews in conjunc-tion with quantitative surveys, contextual inquiries, or “day in the life” studies. 
2.  UX design: As the name implies, this aspect is all about the best user experience (UX) and usability. With the user at the cen-ter of our design, we remain focused on their needs, working hand in hand with our Engineering and Business teams. We create key scenarios, user journeys, and flows that can be applied to customer journeys or service blueprints. These are quickly con-verted from scribbles to wireframes and then into testable pro-totypes. The ease of use of the prototypes is then tested and improved iteratively in usability tests with the end users. 
3. With our brand & visual design service, we find the best way to translate the brand to the newly designed services. Anima­tions, transitions, micro-interactions, and content are more  important than ever when it comes to guiding and drawing users in, or simply meeting their expectations in terms of “mature digi-tal services.” 

To be clear, these are not three separate areas but different  facets that need to mesh with one another. When working, we therefore bear in mind J. J. Garrett’s 5 ‘S’s, the five elements of the UX: Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, and Surface. In our philosophy, it is through juxtaposing the two extremes of rationality and passion that you create customer experiences that are enjoyable and designed around the user. Depending on where we are in the process of development (products/services or comprehensive new features), we employ methodologies to suit the situation. We may use design thinking, perform design sprints, or jump straight in with user­centered design (UCD) in accordance with DIN ISO (see figure below). 
Regardless of the approach, at every stage and in every aspect of our work, we validate our hypotheses and increments both prospectively and retrospectively, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. 

Prospective validation of hypotheses is carried out before a ser-vice goes live in order to ensure that the needs of the user are met in the most appropriate way, thereby optimizing our develop-ment effort. This can include qualitative interviews, quantitative  surveys, test panels, social media response tests, smoke tests, or A/B tests. 
Retrospective validation helps us to continuously improve all touchpoints (app, portal, website, customer support, etc.) for the service once the service is up and running. For example, this can include identifying new features by means of unmet needs, or improving the individual touchpoints. This covers areas such as checking app store reviews, social media monitoring, data-driven validation of findings from analytics and research, beta­group testing, in-app surveys and voting on features, or dedicated  surveys after an interaction, e.g., with Customer Support or  similar. Based on this, we work with our partners/customers to  determine which metrics are relevant for them, and agree on measures to improve defined KPIs.
In addition to the familiar Net Promoter Score (NPS), other  metrics such as the Customer Effort Score (CES) can be used. The CES measures the effort required by a user to achieve what they wanted. So instead of just asking “How satisfied are you with our Customer Support?” we also ask questions such as “How easy was it to get in touch/resolve your problem?” to allow us to quantify this. Furthermore, at the beginning of the jour-ney we carry out A/B testing on marketing and brand assets to  determine how the conversion funnel can be optimized. 

Design sprints and the ti&m garage offer quick access to all our skills
If you want to validate how to approach your user or potential customer, which new features, products, or functions they want, we’ll be happy to help. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. Just using quick design sprints, you can create ideas that are val-idated with users, that support your business, and that are easy to implement. If you also need us to produce a technical proof of concept, we can code that in the ti&m garage.

We are ready for the challenge of another 15 years of constant change and, with our passion, craftsmanship, and methodical approach, we intend to stay ahead of the wave – no matter what the device. 

Robert Fritze
Robert Fritze

Robert Fritze leitet als Head of Design das Design-Team von ti&m. Seine Schwerpunkte liegen im Design Thinking, User Interface und User Experience Design sowie Usability. In 8 Jahren hat er mehr als 75 Mobile-Projekte und über 15 IoT-Projekte betreut.