The Holistic User Experience

With the new world full of interactive smart phones, Geo-aware devices and augmented reality, we need to be aware of the real world experience that consumers want and need. It is not enough to test and analyze products in 1 or 2 dimensions or just looking at how users interact with a website or product in their home.

We need to investigate how people interact with their environment as whole. People are using the Internet, their smartphone and cell phones in conjunction with other people in meatspace as well as wanting to utilize technology in conjunction with brick and mortar storefronts and their friends in real time.

It is not enough to have a website or an application for mobile phones. These interfaces need to take into account all the other ways people accomplish tasks and search for information or products.

Samantha Stormer talks about designing for the Space Between.

She says;

UX professionals can’t constrict a user’s experience to specified devices, touch-points, or time periods. As devices integrate with each other and with the real world, we have to design for this integration and blurring. This new world requires a different way of thinking about UX and design.

The new way of thinking would involve assessing the usability of your service or product at all the touch points with your consumer. This means that as researchers, we would need to talk to people about all the ways they hear about a company, through Facebook, magazines, billboards, television, etc.

We need to track how a person makes a decision to purchase or use a product, which could involve something shared on a friend’s Facebook wall, a notification to their smartphone based on the fact that they are close to the store, checking out reviews on Yelp,  a similar consumer website or Twitter posts.

The new technology users have all this literally at their fingertips and we shouldn’t ignore their impact on behavior and opinion. The experience of consumers today is not limited and our research needs to reflect that.

I will be following this new analysis as I think it points to the future of usability and marketing research.