Do customers really know what they want?

Sometime customers think they know what they want, but the reality can be very different.

The worst way to design a website is to have five smart people in a room drinking lattes. The longer you leave them in the room the worse the design becomes. The next worst way is to have 15 customers in a room drinking lattes. What people say they do and what they actually do are rarely the same thing.

Error rates on forms

Forms can be very tricky to get right, and we aim to monitor the success rate on our forms, some of which do have high error rates. It is useful to get an idea of a base level, its’ a helpful gauge when looking to optimise.

Jane Frost, Director, of the Individuals Customer Directorate at HM Revenue & Customs
‘Reality Check: What Your Customers Will Actually Do’

Customer-focused design based on user testing for forms, and all communications, is essential to reduce error rates, she said, although councils should be realistic: “With forms, there is a 5% error rate when you just ask people for their name, and with anything involving a calculation it is over 50%. This suggests that a form that is 10 questions long, even with the simplest questions, will have a base error rate of 25%.

Social Media Networks ICS event Sheffield 5th October

The day was structured around three themes, Possibilities, Problems and Monitoring.

The conversation is out there.
Social Media Networks are important

1) Significant amounts of people are online and signed up to them. They aren’t going away.
2) There is a whole conversation occurring which we need to be aware of.
3) Marketing – people respond better to other people’s opinions than to large faceless corporations.

When things go wrong : Nestles and Palm oil
Nestles Stuart Jones and Lesley Lee discussed the Nestles blunders with SM.

Nestles social media platforms were swarmed by protesters campaigning against the use of Palm oil in its products.
Nestles response was initially defensive which cause the further outrage and the issue when global. Fans of the Kitkat Facebook page grew from 8000 to 96,000 fans in a few days.
The fall out was extreme with the company receiving over 100,000 email complaints and phone lines being jammed.
Resulting in success for the campaigner and Palm oil being dropped from the ingredients but the damage to the brand, and sales has been significant.

Nestles learning’s
1. Monitor popular channels for key words
2. Contact handling staff aware of SM platform
3. Being defensive gets you no ware
4. Have someone that owns social media
5. Joined up approach Nestles is a global organization reaction was at a national level, yet the conversations were global
6. Social media isn’t a fad

Monitoring and listening
Virgin use social media very successful. They deal with 100 customer requests daily. They have a specialised team dealing monitoring and listening to their customers comments.
It has made a significant impact to their Net Promoter Score. They have done this by listening and picking up on people talking about problems and then getting in touch to try and solve them.

Useful products for doing this are: Netvibes, – easy and quick to use to assess what’s being said about your brand.

Five steps to creating successful Social Media Networks
1. Keep it human it is about the conversation
2. People respond to interesting confident people. People look for status in their community.
3. Know your community, find your audience
4. Engage in their community and learn the rules
5. Build a reputation

· Communications team actively engage with twitter and other Social Media Networks.
· We start to generate an awareness of the Social Media Networks within the Contact Centre.
· Key Council individuals who are already active users feed into the Council system.

Manifesto to a networked nation

According to the Manifesto to a networked nation:

” there are 10 million adults in the UK who have never used the internet: over a fifth of the population and the size of our 5 biggest cities combined. Four million of those are among the most disadvantaged: 39% are over 65, 38% are unemployed and 19% are families with children.

Use of the web decreases with age and increases with income. While only 10% of 16 to 24 year olds are offline, that rises to 50% of 65 to 74 year olds. Other characteristics of non-users are:

  • 47% of those living in households earning less than £11.5k do not use the internet compared to only 4% of those with an income of over £30k.
  • 48% of disabled people are offline.
  • The North of England, urban areas of Scotland and South Wales have the highest concentrations of working age people who are offline.
  • Rural and coastal areas have the highest concentrations of older residents who don’t use the internet
  • Web Forms – areas to consider

    The core aim in form design is to make the process as easy as possible for the user to achieve their goal. There are a bunch of very simple design features that can be employed to make the process easier.

    I’d like to spend some time looking at forms on the site with a view to optimising them, both from an internal and a public perspective.  If we can create forms out of a set of building blocks it should in theory be much easier to create forms quickly and effectively which in turn save the business money and produce a standard set of ways to navigate and complete forms, creating a satisfactory user experience.

    Using an * to highlight mandatory or optional fields

    Asterix’s tend to be used for both mandatory and optional fields therefore it’s good to use copy to explain the intention.

    Applicants name and address


    Reset and continue buttons

    The reset button on a form can have very negative consequences. This is a secondary function and needs to be designed so with less presence than the continue button which has a primary function. It is important that primary and secondary functions are designed so that they have a clear visible distinctions.

    Align the continue or submit button with the input fields.

    Google Maps API

    Experimenting with Google maps API with the intention of mapping my current journey into work with photos. It’s very straightforward and pretty easy to get quick results.

    Loading the map and setting the correct longitude and latitude was simple, things are starting to get a little more complicated with adding markers and then adding photos to the markers.

    Book notes – Emotional Design Donald Norman

    Isn’t it strange how attractive things appear to work better.  Is this just a placebo, we expect things to  work better because we’re approaching them from a more positive stance.

    According to Alice Isen – ‘Being happy broadens the thought processes and facilitates creative thinking.’ This is something that is explored in creative facitilitation – making brainstorming sessions more creative and fun returns better results. Is this common sense if people are relaxed and happy they’re more likely to be productive than if they’re stressed and unhappy?

    In Donald Norman’s book  Emotional Design, he defines the brain as having three levels of processing, the visceral, behavioral and the reflective states.

    In this instance visceral refers to the immediate physical response to a situation. Behavioral is more of a physical action or a skilled action whilst reflective  is  thinking about a situation, analysing and interpreting. According to Norman in design the visceral level is about the initial impact of a product, about it’s appearance shape, texture, colour –  how it looks and feels. Behavioural is about the products use, about the users experience with the product and how it functions and performs, how easy and satisfying is it to use.  Lastly the reflective level is about interpreting and reasoning.