Let’s look at the brighter side19 June 2020
Culture Matters: Persuasive Designing of e-Coaching Systems in the Swedish Context9 September 2020
By Andrea Gaggioli
Today, the word “experience” – is defined as a mode in which the users perceive and interact with the products, service, or a system – it is one of the terms, more frequently used in the innovation strategies of the companies and organizations. Whether it is about the development of an e-commerce site, new digital learning environment, an app or an interactive exhibition – in all these cases, the fundamental objective is to be able to achieve an optimal experience, that is effective, emotionally engaging, aesthetically pleasing, and possibly memorable.
Achieving this result requires the ability to read and meet people's needs, knowing how to analyze their expectations and motivations.
Above all, it requires the ability to understand how to make that experience unique, personal, and authentic, developing a deep connection with the user's psychology. Finally, the ability to translate these psychological dimensions into design elements - interfaces, interaction models, contents - that are accessible to all, easy to use and learn, comes into play. The combination of this knowledge represents the central core of an emerging discipline - the User Experience (UX) - which is the basis of one of the most sought professional skills in the job market, and in particular from the digital world: having in mind that LinkedIn includes it between top 5 hard skills most wanted by companies in 2020
The growing demand for UX experts is motivated by the awareness that today designing optimal experiences for its customers/users is a fundamental accelerator of business growth: it is estimated that improving the UX of a website can result in an increase in the conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who complete the desired goal) up to 400%! On the other hand, the gap relating to the training of these professional figures is still high: becoming an expert in UX requires the development of a multidisciplinary set of skills, ranging from human-computer interaction to design, from psychology to marketing. Moreover, to these technical skills, "soft" skills are added, which include the ability to involve all stakeholders, to know how to collaborate creatively within a diversified team, to build realistic scenarios and use cases, to be able to "metabolize" large quantities of data and information quickly, and be able to communicate effectively.
Future developments of UX are also marked by an extremely positive market outlook: companies have now gained full awareness that in order to be successful in the emerging "experience economy", they will have to focus decisively on the UX factor. However, to do this they will have to face some fundamental challenges: (i) increase the personalization of their offer (which, in essence, means improving the ability to understand their customers, in terms of needs, expectations, habits, lifestyles, etc.); (ii) build trust in the brand, through a history of successful interactions; (iii) knowing how to empathize with its users, managing to involve them not only on a rational level but also (and above all) on an emotional level.
Taking people's experiences to heart does not only mean achieving business objectives, adapting one's offer adequately; it also means contributing to the positive evolution of society, promoting innovation more sensitive to the fundamental values of the person and the community.
This translates, for example, into the ability to give proper attention to aspects relating to security, privacy, ethics, and sustainability. Virtual/augmented reality, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things are technologies that will transform our lives in a radical and irreversible way: bringing man and his experience back to the center of the innovation process is, therefore an inescapable necessity. As psychologists know well, the experience is the fundamental engine of the processes of change and personal development: therefore, becoming an experience designer also means taking responsibility for guiding the transformative processes of our society, and ultimately, shaping our future.