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User Experience News & Analysis

People are People, Not Users

Empathy is an essential skill for those who design and manage websites and apps. It’s hard to have empathy for a user.

Don't Be Afraid of SharePoint Customization

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When SharePoint first came on the scene many years ago, Microsoft embraced a broad and deep partner ecosystem, supported all sorts of educational events to train people and placed millions if not billions on marketing events, all focused on showing us how to customize SharePoint.

With the release of SharePoint 2013, we suddenly had Redmond telling everyone to stop customizing SharePoint. A lot of companies are now embarrassed and ashamed to admit that they have customized their SharePoint sites. In less than three years it went from de rigeur to risky and questionable.

A Look Back: Still Searching for Optimal Customer Experience

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You couldn't escape talk about awesome, amazing, remarkable customer experience (CX) in 2014 — or, for that matter, related terms like customer satisfaction, customer focus, customer service or customer-centricity. It is, after all, the Age of the Customer — a reality that has caused businesses everywhere to embrace CX as a business goal.

But like the mythical 10 pounds we collectively vow to lose on New Year's Day, the customer centricity of most companies, as evidenced by their delivery of memorable customer experience, rarely evolved from a concept to a practice this year.

And no matter how hard companies tried — with new technologies, new programs and even new names ("customer success," anyone?), the dream of seamless, engaging, excellent cross-channel customer experiences often remained an illusion.

  • Why is it cheaper if I order online for in-store pick-up than if I just buy it off the shelf at the store?
  • Why do so many companies make me wait more than 30 minutes to speak to someone who might have the authority to resolve my problem?
  • Why are call center representatives unable or unwilling to understand when you plead "I cannot hear you – please adjust your headset?"
  • Why can't anyone listen to what I am saying?
  • Why are so many of my interactions with companies simply frustraneous?

Why, indeed?

Bah Humbug: Could Your Holiday Emails Be Hurting You?

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Skip me if you’re sending out holiday emails, especially if we’ve never met. What you consider to be Seasons Greetings, I consider to be SPAM. And I have 512 such pieces in my inbox. I could have a part-time holiday job just opening them all.

And when I do open some of them and try to extend greetings of the season to you in return (it’s the least I can do, isn’t it?), the “To” box auto-fills itself with things like “customerservice@xxx.com”, no-reply@xxx.com, info@xxx.com and so on. It makes me feel so special, I can’t tell you.  What were you hoping to achieve?

Design and Refine Your Digital Business in 2015

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User experience was top of mind on Dec. 5, when nearly 150 business people, designers and technologists came together at Idean’s UX Summit in San Francisco. Two questions that I wanted to explore at the event: 1. How can UX design help digital business and customer experience success? and 2. Should all employees apply some design discipline to contribute?

The summit coincided with the 100 year anniversary of the start of Ernest Shackleton and his crew's epic attempt to traverse the continent of Antarctica. I couldn’t help but make a connection between the Endurance story and the challenges modern enterprise teams face with digital business and customer experience initiatives, often times ill-equipped and/or having to dramatically pivot en route, just to survive.

An Experience Design Primer - Service Design, UX, CX, DevOps

2014-05-November-Volcanoes.jpgA small eruption emerged on Twitter in response to my article that covered the Adaptive Path acquisition. At the root of it was a conversation about the differences and overlaps between user experience (UX) and service design. Patrick Quattlebaum, managing director at Adaptive Path and esteemed former colleague sat down with me to see if we could suss out the overlaps and distinctions between each approach.

Why Can't Enterprises Get User Experience Right?

2014-31-October-Ford-Factory.jpgA leading analyst recently said to me, “If enterprises cared about the user experience, SAP and Oracle might not still be in business.” Not to pick on those vendors -- they produce technologies that drive value in the enterprise -- but it’s no secret that the enterprise has lagged far behind the consumer world in terms of the user experience (UX). It’s bad. In enterprises we’re usually asking workers to accomplish tasks that are significantly more complicated than just booking an airline ticket. Arguably, those tasks drive greater revenue -- or cost savings -- than ticket booking for that travel website.

Each of us can chronicle bad experiences with the technology tools we use every day -- and if you’re in the enterprise, your pain may be even more excruciating than consumers. Not only are the experiences worse for you, but they are often ones that you do repetitively, so that pain piles up into long-term frustration and general dread. (Are you familiar with the term “Sunday blues”?)

Here's What Happens When Employees BYOD

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Security-related headaches around BYOD may make users want to BYOB.

That's what you can conclude from a new survey that shows organizations with bring your own device (BYOD) policies have twice the number of security concerns as other organizations.

“BYOD introduces a variety of potential risks from security and policy perspectives, as well as end-user privacy,” said Eugene Liderman, director of the office of the CTO at Good Technology, the company that sponsored the Mid-Market Mobility Trends Survey.

Adaptive Path's Sale Signals Change for UX

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An era has passed. Many in the user experience (UX) and web development worlds were shocked to hear last week that a small company in San Francisco called Adaptive Path had been acquired by, of all companies, Capital One.

With the announcement, company co-founder Jesse James Garrett -- author of the foundational UX book, "The Elements of User Experience" and now chief creative officer at the company -- assured his community not to worry. While they would be closing the celebrated consulting business that helped kickoff the web 2.0 movement, the cherished events the company produced, including UX Week, UX Intensive and The Service Experience Conference would continue.

Still, you have to wonder. With the acquisition of what is arguably one of the world's foremost UX firms, is UX dead?

Microsoft Puts Pieces Together with Office 365 Home Page

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Google has been making a lot of ground in recent months with the addition of lots of new functionality to Google Apps, now called Google Apps for Work.

And Microsoft hasn’t been slouching either. However, Microsoft upgrades have been a little more subtle — and it’s often hard to track what has been added or even what tools you have at your disposable.

But now we have something concrete: Microsoft just announced that it has upgraded the portal page for Office 365, which is being rolled out to current SharePoint and Exchange customers as of today.

Digital is Diffuse, Physical is Solid

One of the key differences between digital and physical is that digital is more adaptable and networked. Thus, digital changes at a more rapid speed, breaking old connections and creating new ones. 

How Ease-of-Use is Reshaping the IT Industry

The interface is increasingly becoming the product when it comes to IT. Ease-of-use, long a peripheral issue, has now become central. 

The Two Most Overlooked Opportunities in Corporate America

"Why should the business pay for that? How will that impact top line revenue?" Although it may have been a while since you asked or have been asked either of these questions at your place of business, I bet you are familiar with them — and just as familiar with the goat rodeos that arrive when the questions are asked.

TimeTrade's COO Reveals the Top Retail Trends

Ambrosino.jpgGary Ambrosino, the president and chief operating officer of TimeTrade, thinks the key to great customer experience comes down to how and when a company engages with potential clients.  Better engagement equals more customer loyalty, in theory.

The 2 Biggest Time Sucks in Corporate America

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"Please shoot me now! I can't do it anymore! Why does everything have to be so slow and painful? There has got to be a better way!" Does this sound familiar? Although it may have been a while since you heard or muttered any of these phrases at work, I would be surprised if you have not heard some similar sense of frustration at your job.

Let's take a look at the greatest "Time Sucks" in corporate America ...

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