Archive | December, 2007

New BBC user experience

14 Dec

BBC Homepage

As a regular user of the BBC website and an ex-BBC employee, I find the new Beta of the customisable homepage an exciting concept. I love the idea of opening up my browser and seeing all the news and content I’m interested in, in one place. So, from my perspective it’s a big thumbs up.However, I am a little worried for the less frequent web user. The new web 2.0 style design with the customisable features on every item seems to add visual clutter and makes the simple task of scanning the page more of a struggle. The design is a little ‘in your face’ with the entire page changing colour when users click particular sections (see below), and the sheer size of the content makes me need to move away from the screen slightly to take it all in.

Homepace colour2    Homepace colour3    Homepace colour4

Being the BBC I’m sure there have been numerous usability tests to validate the concept, and allowing people to explore the Beta version before the change is made final is the best way to avoid the shock and horror usually associated with a major change to user expectations. So, I’m sure the BBC have it all under control, but I can’t help feeling slightly worried that the design of the new homepage has had a little too much focus upon the technology and not enough upon how to help users achieve their goals easier.

Whilst the new homepage can’t be described as offering a poor user experience, I would be fascinated to be a fly on the wall in the usability tests of the slightly older, less frequent audience as I’m not sure they will react quite as positively as I did.

What do you think?

 

 

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Damian Rees

About Damian Rees

Damian has worked as a usability and user experience consultant for over 13 years. He has worked in senior roles within companies like the BBC and National Air Traffic Services where he has researched and designed for users in a variety of different contexts including web applications, voice recognition, and air traffic control interfaces. Follow Damian on twitter @damianrees

Customers seek experiences not products

5 Dec

It’s that time of year again when many of us are stuck for ideas for Christmas gifts to buy our friends and family. Many people this Christmas will give and receive ‘experience gifts’ in the form of concert tickets, theatre tickets, short breaks, spa days and so on. It seems that we’re no longer content to have the material possessions we once were, instead we now crave new and exciting experiences.

Customers seek experiences

In fact, this is the premise behind the term ‘experience economy’ which many commentators feel is a phase we have now entered. Its thought to be an age where our material needs are more commonly satisfied and instead of upgrading our gadgets we’re increasingly seeking to spend our money on the experiences offered by hotels, coffee shops and so on. Retailers are increasingly coming to terms with the notion that the experience of shopping is slightly more important than the items we buy and take home with us.

The experience economy brings with it a strong need for companies to truly understand their customers wider goals. It’s no longer enough for a company to anticipate and deliver the products people want, instead they must understand the wider goals customers have such as the need to belong to a group, the need for status, and the need for personal growth to name just a few. Those companies who truly understand their customer’s needs and offer experiences which generate an emotional connection between the customer and the brand are going to be the leaders of this new age. Apple, Starbucks, Innocent, Abel and Cole are just a few of the stand out companies who seem to be doing this and they are leaving their competition standing.

In the experience economy, where many customers appear to be seeking meaning and self actualisation in their lives, does your company really understand how to offer an emotional connection with your customers?

 

 

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Damian Rees

About Damian Rees

Damian has worked as a usability and user experience consultant for over 13 years. He has worked in senior roles within companies like the BBC and National Air Traffic Services where he has researched and designed for users in a variety of different contexts including web applications, voice recognition, and air traffic control interfaces. Follow Damian on twitter @damianrees