November 13, 2012

3Pillar Global’s Kit Unger and Alok Jain to Explore “How Customers Think” at Internet Summit

Internet Summit 2012 Logo3Pillar’s Kit Unger and Alok Jain took the stage at last week’s Internet Summit 2012 in Raleigh, NC to dole out an interactive user experience presentation titled “How Customers Think.”

The presentation, embedded below, centered around “The Experience Economy,” or the idea that people will ultimately pay more for a product if they like the feeling they get from being associated with that brand.

Our dynamic duo also covered how user research can be an effective tool to influence the design of a software product before serious design or development work for the product begins. To provide an example, Kit and a tourist from overseas who was kind enough to serve as a user research guinea pig ventured into the WMATA subway tunnels to conduct a real-life experiment to see just how difficult it is for the uninitiated to purchase fare cards in Washington, DC’s metro system.

Conference-goers were then provided with high-level requirements and asked to wireframe an interface that would allow users to purchase fare cards. After about 10 minutes, Kit and Alok shared a video that described the two main user archetypes: the overseas tourist and the daily commuter. The video demonstrated the point that each user type had very different needs that the interface needed to accommodate. Understanding user archetypes and their needs is vitally important in crafting the right user experience design for mobile apps and other software products.

Kit and Alok recommend following these four steps to create great customer experiences:

  1. Understand Your Customers – this can best be done by getting specific user stories, observing users in action, and finding out why they want products that function the way they do.
  2. Synthesize Customer Research – compile user research by defining a model that can be applied to everyone, no matter their user archetype/persona.
  3. Build a Culture of Understanding – by putting yourself in the user’s shoes.
  4. Break the Silos – by finding common ground within a company’s Technology, Business, and Consumer-Targeted silos.