Consistency is important.
If you order a box of quite frankly one of the best candies to enhance your movie experience…a box of Junior Mints…you know exactly what you are going to get in every piece. And the cool thing is…it’s all good. So…no surprises.
So why on earth am I speaking of Junior Mints? Well it’s simple…it’s an experience that you don’t mind repeating over and over again. As the back of the box states…”Over fifty years ago a new star was born…a creamy, flowing, refreshingly light mint center surrounded with just the right amount of rich dark chocolate coating has made Junior Mints a favorite of all ages…inside and outside the movie theatre!”
Photo credit from Juniormints.com
User Experience Matters
So turn your attention to web experiences…why isn’t it that every time you visit your favorite website that you don’t have a consistent experience…one worth remembering over and over again. Consider this…until recently web experiences have been misunderstood. Grant it…now we have user experience experts paying attention to the patterns, habits and trends of the audience.
Allow Yourself to Listen
The problem I still see is that the client who hires the user experience experts doesn’t always pay attention to the truths about what the audience wants or needs. Instead they get lost…lost in internal politics or lack of appropriate marketing needs. They get lost in their old paradigms. They get lost in the only way they know how to think. And remarkably they get clouded…clouded in their inability to think innovation. Some tend to underestimate the intelligence of their audience and often do not understand the audience behaviors…thus the user experience more then not fails. And every morsel of the experience is not as pleasurable. And every time they return to learn more they don’t get a consistent experience.
Let The Truth Be Told
With the web there are unique challenges…audiences aren’t always easy neither to understand nor to identify. So if you’re smart you listen. You listen to the audience, you listen to those you hire to share with you discoveries on how to pay attention to each and every experience and provide a consistent experience worth enjoying. And just as important you listen to yourself. You look at truths.
I’ve had the opportunity to work on a number of large site relaunches and designs in my career and now I will be working on another such redesign for Cincinnati Children’s. We have chosen to interview three of today’s best interactive agencies to assist our team. So what have I learned? What have others around me learned? And what can I share to my new organization and to the company we decide to join in this large project.
A Lot of Really Smart People Make a Lot of Really Dumb Mistakes
I probably could write a book on what I have learned…what to do and what not to do. And I’ve seen a lot of really smart people make a lot of really dumb mistakes. Most of which they never realized they were making. Primarily because they didn’t understand the medium nor how to ultimately meet the user experience. And for some…it was there first time…the first real time they had undertaken a relaunch or a full site redesign. So despite their good intentions they made mistakes which were not easy to detect when they we making them.
Innovation and Ideas Require Clear Thinking
So my advice is be open…open to new ideas…new ways of thinking. Know that best practices in this medium occur each and everyday. They’re being developed…expanded upon…and created with unique approaches which are not all cookie cutter. Allow this to happen. Don’t get caught up in pride or insecurities. Remember that books are great references…but they are not bibles. Be flexible. Be innovative. Do not settle for mediocre or standard. Strive for excellence.
Oscar Wilde May Have Said it Best
“Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.”
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers…allow yourself to learn something new. It’s not easy to get direction or ideas when you’ve spent your whole career giving them to others. Trust in those you have hired…push them to help you change your thinking and the thinking of those within your organization. Understand there is plenty of room to grow…to make each user experience memorable and effective. This is the time to allow yourself to think of your audiences in new ways…ways you may not have ever allowed yourself to understand. Remember…sometimes you may be too close to the forest to see the trees.
Learn from those who have traveled the road before you and have new perspectives. Remember…you are creating the experience for others…not for yourself.
Junior Mints do it one experience at a time…so can you.