Roland Studer
25. June 2015

UX Intensive Copenhagen or how I learned to be more humble...

UX Intensive

Even more than a month after visiting the workshop days UX Intensive in Copenhagen my head is still overloaded and bursting with ideas. The four workshop days covered how to create great experiences by covering strategy, user research, service design and interaction design. Mainly I learned how to look at products and services in a more holistic way:

Understanding shared value

As UX professionals we care a lot about the user. I believe we sometimes care too much. We get this tunnel vision and think if the experience is great for the user, everything else will fall into place. But just creating value for the customer is not the solution, the strategy has to fit the overall business. The real value comes when we can align the needs of business, employees and customers. By taking the role of the user advocate, we are excluding ourselves from important discussions about trade offs.

Only if we understand the business, the employees and the customer value, can we achieve success.

Orchestrated touchpoints & channels

We are great at creating interactions and we love to work on that. But we are usually only ever working on one or two channels on specific only selected parts of each customer’s journey. Only if we understand the whole process, with its support and system and all the backstage employee actions.

Let’s say, we are asked to work on the app for an airline, that lets user check in. We can do our best work on the app, but will this create a great experience for the customer? Well, it depends:

Laura a frequent business traveller goes to the airport. Her assistant booked the flight for her two days ago. Laura arrives at the airport and does the check-in with the app. She gets her boarding pass and moves on to the security check point. When she looks at the board of departures to find out which gate she has to go to, she sees that her flight will be delayed for at least two hours. She wonders if there is another flight she could change to. She opens the app, but fails to find any contact number, there is just a feedback form. She finally finds a number on the website. The person on the phone says she cannot change the flight after she has passed the security checkpoint. So Laura gives up, annoyed she takes out her laptop to get some work done. Two hours later she boards the plane. When they try to scan the boarding pass, it takes the employees takes several attempts to do it. A person behind her comments on how people should stick to paper instead of using fancy technology.

In this case the app made the experience worse in some aspects. She did not receive information, she would have received during check-in at the desk and the scanning procedure was frustrating and was slowing down everyone. The channels were not well coordinated.

In order to create a great experience, we really need to understand the whole journey of the customer and not just that, we need to understand the support systems and all the backstage employee actions too. Only then can we craft new and really good experiences. We should not put too much effort into a single channel or touchpoint without understanding the bigger picture. We are trying to play the fiddle, but nobody is orchestrating all these touchpoints. We need to make sure we have a director who is orchestrating it all, be it us or a product manager.

Become more humble

To have a bigger impact we have to become more humble. Yes we are specialists, but we will never understand all the cogs of the system as well as the people that work within it. So I want to stop being and expert and become just a facilitator enable their ideas and realize our customer’s potential.

About UX Intensive

UX Intensive is a four day workshop for anyone who is involved in product or service development, organized by Adaptive Path. I recommend it highly for designers, product managers, project managers, developers and startup people alike. It is well worth it’s rather high price!