We had a guest speaker come in to talk to my Brownie Guide group on Monday for their Disability Awareness Badge. In a wheelchair at 21, Anne has gone on to become a successful solicitor who has sailed the Atlantic well before the internet was established. But Anne has offered me a view about how making experiences amazing, beyond simply functional, is the key to her living her life to the full.
We talked about Christmas shopping, working from home, sources of information to improve life with a disability and how charities are behind the times with technology. Nowadays, with the technology available, Anne can be just as able as I am, but she is also more bound to using it than I am. Focussing on just Christmas shopping, this is when it really drills home that when you make an effort to make an experience amazing for your customer, for some you are massively enhancing the quality of their life.
Anne on the Christmas shopping experience:
“I don’t think I’m unusual when it comes to hating Christmas shopping, but at least I have an excuse for shopping online. I’m not unlike everyone else who leaves it until the last minute to go and buy presents, so occasionally I am forced to go into town. I still like to go out and browse – one of the reasons I don’t grocery shop online, even if I have to ask a passer-by to reach the top shelves! I do miss the festivities a bit when I buy online, but I LOVE it when the boxes arrive – opening them feels like Christmas for me too!”
Make Anne’s experience online amazing by:
Anne’s ideal website can benefit from a bit of festive sparkle to bring her the Christmas experience, but ensure it doesn’t detract from the important information, such as delivery options, which could encourage her that your site is a better option than going into town! Add a “browsing” option as well as a quick way to search for an item – consider by gender, occasion or price as well as just by name or category.
After sales service is just as important to Anne as actually buying. There are a number of “delighters” you can employ to make Anne’s shopping experience amazing here. Consider sending her an email to let her know her order has been placed to give her security. Also consider the packaging the product arrives in and what you can add here to make the purchase special from beginning to end.
For inspiration of an amazing shopping experience, look at:
Firebox.com is a great example of how this can be done. They have added festive cheer without distraction by the subtle addition of snowflakes in the border and on the logo. I love how you can search by price, person, randomised or “show me everything” that lets you browse just as you would in store.
Firebox does a great job of letting me know if products are in stock before I order, and then letting me know when it is coming into stock so I can make a decision and get no nasty surprises when it isn’t in my box when it arrives! I get a confirmation email that my order is despatched and even one to tell me when it has been delivered. Then, when I open the box there’s a box of gummy sweets and a gift voucher!
Consider the following to enhance your site design:
As a regular Firebox customer and browser, I love the visual excitement of the explosion of products on the homepage. I know that for others they find it too cluttered. Everyone is different, which is why it’s important to take a good sample of the audience and watch them trying to achieve goals through user testing.
Finding out how to enhance the customer experience through involving your customers through user centred design. We can help you research your business, the competitors and your own customers to find out what experiences you can offer to bring them delight and make you their top choice.
Eye tracking your festive design to ensure it isn’t detracting from the user experience. We will be able to give you recommendations on how you can change the design to enhance the experience rather than make it harder!
Thinking beyond the website. Remember we are “customer experience” specialists, and their experience doesn’t end when they leave the website.
Inspired by Anne’s experience, you should also read:
If this article inspired you, you should also read Austin Seraphin’s blog on his first week with an iPhone – from the point of view of a blind user.
Think about how you communicate your customers online through your content when you read what the internet looks like to a blind user with Mark Vincent’s guest blog “Content is King”