When Joe Lovell and I recently spent a few days investigating and testing mobile websites, one of the things we weren't expecting to discover was just how few websites cater specifically for tablets. Neither of us are what you might call 'heavy' tablet users. Our critique of the sites we saw happened without expectation of what a tablet browsing experience should, or shouldn't be. Doubtless many tablet users are used to navigating full desktop sites on a small screen, but we were not. This probably made us a little more critical than most, but I think justifiably so in light of the collective sigh of relief breathed when we encounterd a site actually designed to work on a tablet!
This apparent lack of investment in tablet-specific design is all the more surprising given the current surge in tablet sales.
In my last post I described our collaborative user experience (UX) approach to the Avery Weigh-Tronix website. This was a complete end-to-end project, and was an amazing opportunity to play a key role in a complete revolution of Avery Weigh-Tronix's online presence. In this post I want to talk about the way that the research done as part of the UX design was able to inspire and direct the creative aspects of the project, and enabled us to justify and explain a relatively daring new approach.
Right now I’m listening to Billy Bragg’s A13 Trunk Road to the Sea, an inspired Anglicised tribute to the American classic (Get your kicks on) Route 66. I bring it up because it’s given me an idea of how to start writing this post. Rather bizarrely, I think it demonstrates something that we at Auros needed to get our collective heads around while planning and developing the new Avery Weigh-Tronix website. Now if that all sounds as tenuous as a new Vicar at a primary school trying to find parity between the Little Baby Jesus and Pokemon, bear with me…
I recently changed energy providers. Not an especially interesting revelation I admit: why would anyone else care whose logo is at the top of my electricity and gas bills? But I'd say that the reason for changing provider is interesting, because this is the first time I can recall consciously having made a purchase decision based on the quality of user-experience on a website.
It isn't that long ago that the user-experience of a company's website was no more than incidental to the overall customer experience, and an optional part of the customer's relationship with the business. These days it clearly makes sound financial sense for almost any business to encourage its customers to self-manage online, and now regular contact with the website has become an absolute requirement of that relationship.