Commentary

Experience Trumps Device: Adaptive Engagement In An Omnichannel World

The connected experience has become the primary online experience for millions of consumers, with many owning and using, more than one mobile device, plus home and office desktops.

Google’s study “The New Multi-Screen World” found 90% of mobile users use multiple devices sequentially to complete a task. Organizations must now cope with new challenges in reaching their customers; challenges that require the consideration of new contextual parameters, as well as new kinds of engagement.

Challenge: Don’t Put Your Customer On An Island

Many organizations struggle to establish a seamless mobile experience. Relying solely on native apps does not deliver the fully connected sequential screen experience customers now expect.

No matter the approach, an app-based or responsive Web approach, it is critical not to put customers on a “mobile island” from which they have no escape.

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If a site isn’t mobile compliant, it might be an island; no one wants to pinch and zoom to get around. Another way to end up on an island is by splitting transactions, for example forcing customers to jump to another device or experience to complete a transaction.

Parameters: Contexts Determine Requirements

It is all about context when designing for mobile.

Developers have got in the habit of only considering the desktop context, but mobile requires thinking about context in three ways:

  • User context is defined by the behaviors you want the customer to perform including the  user’s state of mind at the time of engagement.
  • Device context is about the device used. This seems simple, but changing form factors are adding layers of complexity.
  • Environmental context is the physicality of mobile. The desktop was a “fixed” context with a mouse and good connection, while mobile is far more dynamic, and inconsistent.

The contextual intersection of these three contexts forms the functional requirements of the connected experience design.

Parameters: Mobile Optimization And Parity Of Experience

An organization’s online interface must be optimized for mobile, which means small-format touch screen devices with possible bandwidth restrictions. Content must also be optimized,  which might mean shorter headlines, smaller text blocks and different metadata.

Optimization must be balanced against maintaining parity of experience between platforms. Users generally expect the same content and features on a website, regardless of whether they browse it on a phone, tablet or desktop.

Adaptive Engagement Is Critical To Delivering A Valued Connected Experience

Managing content is a challenge for many large organizations, particularly when their policies, tools and techniques were designed primarily for the desktop. Implementing an adaptive content strategy enables organizations to create content once and publish as widely as possible.

Adaptive engagement transactions are even more challenging. A process that takes three steps on the desktop might take five on the smartphone, or perhaps should take a single step. Data will be collected differently, and should be analyzed differently,

Remember, it’s not just a multichannel world, it’s an omnichannel world. Your customer’s transactional experience is crossing channels, it could start at home over coffee and an iPad, it might extend to an in-store experience with their smartphone in hand, it might be ordered in the store, purchased over the counter, or concluded at home in a browser on the desktop.

No matter the sequential configuration, understanding context and an adaptive engagement approach that strikes the critical balance between optimization and parity is critical for success.

 

 

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