The Future of Online Customer Experience

Moira Dorsey

New technologies follow a pattern. They start by imitating older technologies before they evolve to their true forms. The first automobiles looked like horseless carriages. It wasn't until the Vintage Era of the 1920's that cars evolved to a form that we'd recognize today with features like front-engines, enclosed cabs, and electric starters. Televisions started off copying radios - they looked more like an armoire with a small screen stuck on the front.

In the process of working on my latest piece of research, it became clear that the Web has followed a similar pattern. Early sites imitated a much older medium - paper. And even though 'web page' still dominates our thinking, online experiences have begun to evolve away from the page-based metaphor. In the next 5 years, the evolution of online experiences toward their true form is about to take off at a much faster rate than in the previous 5 years.

Consider that today's default Web platform - a browser running on a PC - is rapidly giving way to diverse online environments. The types of devices we use to connect to the Web are proliferating. In addition to the growth of netbook adoption, there are new devices like the Chumby and the Energy Joule. Portable devices are rapidly getting more powerful - as a result, the tradeoff between mobility and capability is shrinking. And even as the hardware evolves, the interfaces on the devices we use to connect to the Web are becoming more and more customizable. And the reason any of this matters at all is because consumers are already adopting these technologies.

So what are the implications of these trends? What does it mean for the future of online experiences? At Forrester, we've concluded that the resulting online customer experiences of the future will be:

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Announcing Forrester's Web Site User Experience Review version 8.0!

Adele Sage

A few months ago, I asked for your input on our Web Site Review methodology. Harley Manning, Rich Gans, and I incorporated your feedback, scoured the latest academic and human factors research, and reflected on the past 1300+ reviews we've completed. And the result? The latest and greatest version (version 8.0 to be exact), officially renamed Forrester's Web Site User Experience Review 8.0.

What is it? Forrester's Web Site User Experience Review uncovers flaws that prevent users from accomplishing key goals on Web sites. It's is an expert evaluation, a type of methodology - also known as a heuristic evaluation or scenario review - that was originally developed by Rolf Molich and Jakob Nielsen as a lower-cost alternative to lab-based usability techniques.

How does it work? The review process begins by identifying the target users and their goals on the particular site. Armed with this information, a trained reviewer emulates the user and tries to accomplish specific goals on the site. The experience is then graded against 25 criteria. Scores for each criterion range from -2 (severe failure) to +2 (best practice), so overall scores for completed Web Site User Experience Reviews range from -50 to +50, with +25 representing a passing score.

Here are the 25 criteria:

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Multichannel customer experience: Replacing my Verizon FiOs Router

Harley Manning

Recently I had one of my own customer experiences that shows just how hard it is to get all the elements of a multichannel interaction working right.
 
Here’s some context: Over a year ago I switched from Comcast to Verizon FiOS for my home television service and internet access. So far I’ve been very satisfied with my choice – I like the FiOS product better and the Verizon people I’ve dealt with have been great, especially the woman who signed me up and the guy who installed the service.
 

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Customer Experience Evangelism - A Success Story

Megan Burns

Every week I talk to people who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to help their companies improve the customer experience. Some have the support of senior management, but some don't - they first have to persuade others that focusing on the customer experience will be good for business.

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Designing in a high-resoultion world...help!

Ronald Rogowski

I’m Richard Gans, a Researcher on Forrester’s Customer Experience team.  Ron Rogowski and I just published some research about designing sites to work in a high-resolution world.  What did we find? The good old days of having simple choices for what size screen to optimize your site for are long over.  Now, the majority of screens have surpassed 1024x768 with no single standard resolution in sight.

 

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Assumption Personas (handle with care)

Jonathan Browne

Jon-Browne

[Posted by Jonathan Browne]

About ten years ago, when Forrester was writing some of our early research on effective Web design, we noticed a pattern among leading companies. They told us they were finding it very helpful to use design personas - models of customers based on qualitative research into real customers, but presented as vivid stories about individuals (not segment descriptions). These tools enabled them to stay focused on the needs of their most important customers when designing online experiences.

Since then, design personas have become fairly mainstream design tools in North American companies, and increasingly common in Europe and Japan - not only for Web design, but across all channels. However, the quality of personas varies enormously from company to company. For example, I'm evaluating personas from UK interactive agencies at the moment and although some are clearly well researched, engaging, helpful to designers and believable, others seem to be mere stereotypes.

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Categories:

Introducing Emotional Experience Design

Ronald Rogowski

Ron-Rogowski  [Posted by Ron Rogowski]

In a world where users approach the Web with ever increasing expectations, a firm's Web site has become critical for building a company’s relationship with its customers. Today, the  Web site is often the first, and sometimes only, place customers interact with a company. Unfortunately, many sties offer lackluster experiences that leave an emotional void.

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New Report: "How Chief Customer Experience Officers Gain Active Executive Support"

Megan Burns

Megan Burns [Posted by Megan Burns]

 

I’m excited to announce the release of my latest report: “How Chief Customer Experience Officers Gain Active Executive Support.” Executive involvement is critical to the success of any customer experience transformation, but it’s hard to get. I interviewed several successful CC/EOs to find out how they got their peers on the leadership team on board.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

 

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Take The Conversation Offline At Forrester’s Chicago Tweetup

Ronald Rogowski

Are you attending Forrester's Consumer Forum 2009? Do you live in the Chicago area? Do you ever wonder who you are talking to on Twitter?

On October 26, the night before Forrester’s Consumer Forum, Forrester will be hosting a Chicago Tweetup. Tweetups are low-key social events where Twitterers can network and meet the people they tweet with. Anyone can attend; it is an informal atmosphere that allows casual conversations.

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Web Site Brand Review Workshop October 26, Chicago, IL (In Conjunction With Forrester’s Consumer Forum 2009)

Ronald Rogowski

Ron-Rogowski [Posted by Ron Rogowski]

 

Ever wonder why Web sites offer such lackluster brand experiences? Want to know how your site can help you differentiate your brand online?

 

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