What would you ask from a digital service?

We have all come across an impalpable digital service or product of which usage frustrates and confuses us. On the online store it has been difficult to understand what just happened on the payment process, or one can’t find important information from the hotels website. A bad user experience is due to the fact that the user of the service and the service itself don’t talk the same language. Danger to such a scenario arises if the service is designed in a hurry, in wrong order, or without getting to know the most important use cases.

User: I would like to buy windscreen washer, what would you recommend to my car?
Service: Your search criteria found 366 214 hits.
User: Whaat..?

Content driven design will help you to find a solution to a problem like above. The basis of thinking is to create meaningful and natural conversation between the service and the user.

User: Do you serve breakfast at your hotel?
Service: Sure, we have a buffet and a la carte, which one would you like?

Using common, understandable words and attributes at the beginning of the design process ensures that the designer, client and end user speak the same language. This will save you later in the process from misunderstandings and potential unnecessary work and helps you to create appropriate content for the service. Content is therefore an essential part of the design and should be taken into account even before the actual user interface.

Three basic principles can be utilized in the design. It is good to use a natural language that is consistent and easy to understand when creating a common language. No professional vocabulary or specific terms are required. Reading out loud often helps to structure things.

It is a good idea to tailor the discussion to be situation specific. The content should reflect where the user comes from and what we want them to do next. It is also good to keep the user up to date. For example, in the payment process it is important to clearly indicate what is happening, what has happened and what will happen next.

At the beginning of the content driven design process you may ask:

  • Whom are we talking to, who is the end user?
  • Why is a product or service just for them?
  • What does the product or service do?
  • Why does the product or service exist?
  • What does the user want to know about a product or service?

User surveys and interviews can be utilized to answer these questions. It is important to get relevant information from the right users. Material can be produced, for example, by thinking about a service or product and the user as counterparties of a conversation. The parties ask each other questions and answer them. Content design does not need special verbal talent as everyone knows how to have a conversation.

User: Do you have home delivery for your pizzas?
Service: Yes, where do you live?

From time to time we encounter surprisingly good services. For example, booking a flight can be conveniently done on a mobile device. Good user experience crystallizes in intelligibility. Things do not have to be impalpable, even if they are complicated. Finding the right communication between the service and the user is important, especially at times when face-to-face customer service is reduced and services are automated. Digital services are a top-notch customer service as its’ best which leaves the user with good mood.

Our design team spent four days at the Lisbon UX seminar. We’ll publish a series of blogs from the seminar offering.

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