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A recent leader in The Economist raised my interest in the little discussed area of ‘facile externality’.
The Economist summed up the concept as follows:
Financial services are being unbundled as the internet allows consumers to shop around, rather than be beholden to the big old bank that provides their current account.
Digital challenger brands in financial services understand that for many consumers, the online experience is more important than the offline experience. Many of these brands also have the advantage of being untainted by previous misdemeanours of incumbents in the industry – they don't have to walk such a fine line when championing transparency and fairness.
What is a customer mental model?
Simply put, a mental model is what the user believes about a particular system. This system doesn't have to be a digital product or service, it could be anything from a supermarket store to the entire end-to-end journey of buying a car.
I recently booked a flight through eDreams (after searching on Skyscanner) and one small part of the booking UX jumped out at me as an artefact from the past, typical of a time when online customer experiences prioritised short-term revenue at the expense of brand and usability.
However far online travel agents (OTAs) have come, I'd argue there are still too many examples of UX that sails close to the wind.
Shopping online can be a refreshing and enjoyable experience. But consumers may have forgotten that fact, after years of using identikit ecommerce sites that are functional but drab.
Thankfully, challengers and disruptors in retail are imbuing their websites with brand character and providing a customer experience not far removed from a store visit.
What are the components that make a great user experience?
These components can be ordered in a hierarchy or pyramid, with the most essential at the foot and the ultimate at the top. Let's examine this hierarchy, which is taken from Econsultancy's Best Practice Guide: User Experience and Interaction Design for Mobile and Web.
Digital user interfaces are an integral part of brand image, usability and often the business as a whole.
So, what does a UI designer do? Matt Bartlett is Senior UI Designer at web-design agency Ridgeway.
Here's what he does with his time...
How does digital technology enable the customer to manage their finances? Does your banking app check up on your spending?
The mobile is the device that should have transformed the way consumers manage their finances. And though there is now a slew of transfer/payment apps, and many banking apps are some of the slickest you'll ever use, their functionality rarely addresses a very common customer need - 'How can I protect myself from spending too much?'
In 2017, more websites will be reducing their primary navigation options.
But why, and who has done this already?
The hamburger menu has always been contentious, with many believing its rather smug parallel lines are too abstract, not understood by all users.
Even as the icon proliferated, as more and more company websites went responsive, it has seldom been viewed as a standard.
Customer journey mapping, AI, VR and design; how do our experts see UX changing in 2017?
Here's what they had to say...
Chatbots are firmly on the radar (for good or bad), along with new tools and new business processes.
Have a read of everything that stood out to our UX experts in 2016.