Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Customer Experience and User Experience

"The customer is always right"

"Know thy user, for he is not thee"

A marketeer looks differently at an online customer than a web designer. A Usability Analyst looks differently at an online user than a web designer. So do marketeers and Usability Analists look the same way at an online user?

In the real world: they don't. But I think they should. We all know that a website is not a pure technical thing, neither a pure marketing and sales thing and neither a pure user thing. These three forces work together and since the beginning of the internet, the technical forces always been stronger than the others and in the last few years the marketing and sales force has become one of the strongest forces: we need return on investment!

Lately, organisations start to realize that Usability of a website is very important. If your website is not usable they will leave. And even worse: if your competitor's website is more usable, they'll use that one because the User Experience is better!

And a good user experience is the basis for a good customer experience. For a good customer experience you need to look at the whole customer life-cycle. Huub Esten, my collegue at Capgemini says: "You need to be the best in one part and at least as good as the others for the other parts of the process". Especially when your company does online business, awareness of Usability and User Centered Design is key.

In his latest "Alertbox", the Usability guru Jakob Nielsen told about a research where they found that if your webpage has about 111 words on it, about 50% will be read. With more words that percentage drops fast. So tell that to the marketing people: your customers will read only half (or less!) of what you need to say to them.