One of the biggest challenges today, is to deliver meaningful experiences that create value to brands and are valuable for the users. As UX and CX professionals we are today responsible for the value generation processes, because an experience is created by the understanding of what does value mean for all those involved in the experience: the brand and the users.
I recently gave a speech at UX Denmark 2016, the theme was trust & emotion. If trust is the willingness to take risks, where does trust come from and how can it be useful in the UX field? Trust is generated by interaction, there is no trust unless the parts have had – or are in the conditions of having – an interaction that can build and support a relationship that generates positive emotions.
Interaction generates trust and relationships, and relationships generate experiences, and experiences are the real value in the experience economy.
Therefore, if relationships are the (metaphorical) places where value is generated between the interacting parts, then the only way to be in a relationship is through an EXPERIENCE.
Experience is generated by experiences, and the design of future experiences requires imagination and the understanding of the perception of the present experiences through narratives and storytelling of the past.
A brand comes to a consultancy to get a guide and a support on how they can generate value, create better customer experiences, how they can provide more delight to their users. Because traditionally brands and markets were led by brands, consumers only bought the products and had limited choice and limited ways to interact with brands.
But today customers can interact in so many ways with brands and have so much choice, that delivering something meaningful is key.
For far too long organisations were focusing on their one-to-many messages and on the product, and the whole UX concept came quite unexpectedly: organisations had to adapt quickly and learn the lesson fast: Markets are conversations, as an organisation we need to talk with these people, speak their language, interact when and how they want, build a relationship, built it on trust, do it now!
But if value is generated through the relationship and the conversations between brands and users, UXers have today the key role to enhance these conversations and understand what are the elements that are valuable for the users and what is the value that brands want to get out of that relationship.
Because value may be reputation, more customers, more happy customers, more sales, more engagements… the KPIs may change, but the UX professionals need to understand what is the short and long term goal of a brand to be able to include those values in a strategic plan and into the user experience.
We can say the same for the user: value is not necessarily a one button app, or a visually attractive site, or a detailed product description. The value may be in the journey, the in purchase experience, in the post-purchase experience, in the trust customers can put in the brand, or in the value of the interaction in terms of costs. But then, each of these values also correspond to a different person, a different user, and again, we need to bring users in front of brands and let these concepts and these values to be negotiated, discussed, explored, and discovered to make sure that users and brands can find a common ground.
And we as UX professionals are the facilitator of this process: we can discover, define, and deliver that value, and we can help organisations and users to have a maieutic experience where we allow participants to reveal what is valuable and meaningful for them, to map where are the subtle overlapping we need to design the win win experiences.
I think that as UX professionals we have the duty to explore what is value for brands and what is valuable for the users and design those experiences around these ideas.
How do I do it?
I use Lego Serious Play to engage people, build trust, elicit stories and narratives, get ideas, negotiate, and imagine the next experience.
This is my presentation at UX Denmark: