Skip to content

OmniChannel Interaction: Implications for User Experience Cohesion

 By Userlytics
 Nov 28, 2012

OmniChannel Interaction: Implications for User Experience Cohesion

“Seduce me by allowing me to learn something new; Empower me by ensuring a coherent application thereof.”

Every CMO, Product-Brand Manager and Advertising Executive knows we are in the midst of a massive disruption in marketing & advertising; the fragmentation of the traditional one way mass communication model of radio, TV, and print into an exploding ecosystem of interactive and cross polinating channels is changing the game in unforeseen ways.

In the US, online is about to displace TV as the largest media spend category, and within the category of online there continues to be a “Cambrian” explosion of channels and customer touch points, for both direct marketing and brand building.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding

Yet many organizations still have an organizational structure that reflects the traditional importance of one way mass communication channels. And some of the leading advertisers still consider e-commerce and social media as a separate discipline from traditional branding and paid media approaches, with CMOs of some of the largest advertisers believing “TV is for branding, online is for direct marketing”.

But even those organizations that embrace the power and inevitability of multiple interactive channels and branding touch points tend to treat them as separate functions, requiring separate domain expertise (SEO, PPC, Social Media, Customer Service) and differing tactics, strategies and budgetary allocations.

This leads marketing organizations and advertisers to allocate resources, strategize and differentiate between paid vs social, desktop vs mobile device, online TV vs gaming platform, macro social vs micro (e.g.: Facebook vs Twitter), user generated content (UGC) product placement video vs professional product placement video, etc.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding

At a high level, most large corporate organizations are organizing their departments so as to separate traditional one way mass branding, online direct marketing, in-store marketing, customer service and other branding/sales touch points as distinct areas and functions, with separate resources.

In other words, although the importance of the growth of online, mobile and gamification and their associated exposure and interaction touch points is recognized, the very diversity of the type and number of channels and touch points is generating an associated organizational fragmentation.

The massive multiplicity of channels and customer touch points is being studied and analyzed for its impact on cost, effectiveness and efficiency of target reach, for its ability to enable customized timing and frequency of exposures, for the capability of distincly measuring brand lift from direct marketing effects of single marketing actions, etc.

Yet the growing organizational fragmentation to deal with the diverse channels and touch points and the corresponding resources brought to bear on each one (social media experts, SEO and online media experts, interactive retail store merchandising consultants, youtube video viral marketing, etc) is leading to a fragmentation of the user experience, and thus represents a huge risk as well as a missed opportunity.

Microsoft is an example of what happens to the user experience when development & design departments are assigned to work separately on different features, products and platforms. It leads to a frustratingly different user experience of features within products, and products within product families (like the differences in how to conduct similar types of actions across Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint).

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding. OmniChannel Interaction: Implications for User Experience Cohesion.

Whereas Apple showed us what happens when a fanatical dedication to ensuring a coherent and consistent user experience is applied across feature sets, product families, channel sales points and advertising mediums. Regardless of whether we look at development and design as something inherently distinct from marketing, advertising, branding, & sales, all of them affect the user experience.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding

And the user experience is ultimately what leads to a brand subsconciously fulfilling its promise and the expectations it sets.

A unified user experience across features, products, customer touch points, sales channels, and advertising media is a uniquely powerful means to embed an emotional reaction and fanatical loyalty within consumers.

It is commonly thought that Apple owes a large part of its success as a company and as a brand to an “intuitive” design in all of its products. Or to a “User friendly” design & development. Or just to “cool” features.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The word and concept of intuition comes from the latin “intueri”, as in “to look or contemplate inside”. It is commonly understood as the ability to acquire knowledge without inference and/or the use of reason.

Many if not most Apple users claim that their experience with Apple products does not require any mental effort, that it is automatic, that it seems natural, comes easily, etc.

And yet this is clearly not the case.

The “reality distortion field” that Apple has created so successfully has hypnotized its customer base and admirers, the media, and even its competition into believing that an intuitive and user friendly and cool design is the reason for its success.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding. OmniChannel Interaction: Implications for User Experience Cohesion.

Ten years ago three year olds did not walk up to a TV screen and try to swipe the screen across using their fingers, or zoom in or out by pinching or separating their fingers on the screen.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding

Yet now many do exactly that.

How can this type of behaviour be labelled as intuitive, if they did not attempt the same behaviour on TV screens before the iPhone and iPad existed?

Because it is a learned skill. They may have learned it by watching their parents and siblings or other persons interact with a tablet and smartphone. Or they may have played with the devices, and used their innate exploratory urges to figure it out.

But their behaviour cannot be categorized as intuitive.

The iPod of 10 years ago, with its physical wheel, is vastly different from the current iPod, with its touch sensitive screen.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding

Many users of iPhones find themselves at times touching the screens of old iPods, expecting them to react in the same manner as their iPhones, and are surprised and chagrined when they do not respond in the manner they expected.

Clearly, neither of the above interaction designs is intuitive, and both had to be learned.

Which was also the case with the point and click mouse and windows system invented by Xerox and popularized by Apple and then Microsoft.

And yet, users feel as if all of the above interactions are intuitive, and do not need to be learned.

So what is going on?

It all comes down to consistency and coherence.

Apple has shown that by being fanatical about consistency within a product feature set (i.e.: within the iPhone or iPad), and across a product family (iPod, iPhone, and iPad), as well as across multiple sales channels (every Apple Store in every mall or outlet), and even across every advertising medium (TV, Billboards, In-Movie Placement), it creates fanatical customer loyalty and evangelism, and a massive brand uplift over time.

This works because once a user has invested the mental time and effort to learn the new apple interaction method (whether a product or feature interaction, or how to interact with an Apple store outlet for customer support, training or purchases), he or she never needs to re-learn it. The method is consistently and coherently applied throughout.

So after the initial learning, the user or customer does not need to think. Even if he or she starts using or exploring a completely different feature or product. They feel exhilarated at their “intutive” understanding of how to interact and use the product or feature. And how close the branding and messaging and look & feel of the advertisements and product placements fit in with the user interfaces.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding. OmniChannel Interaction: Implications for User Experience Cohesion.

So that it all seems so incredibly cool.

When a new advertising theme, look & feel, design and copy is introduced, it takes its inspiration from, and is very closely tailored and aligned to, the existing feature set and product family. And is consistently and coherently applied acroos all outlets, channels, and media.

When a customer walks into an Apple retail outlet, the store interaction is extremely innovative and different from what the customer or prospect is used to in any other retail outlet (and thus, is not “intuitive”); the customers can freely play with all the products for hours on end, there is a demo room for viewing product videos and listening to tutorials, there is a customer service center (with appointments made online), there is no need to approach a checkout counter, every store assistant is a walking checkout/payment assistant, etc.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding

This “cool” approach to retailing is consistently applied everywhere in the world, whether it be San Francisco, Palo Alto, New York, Madrid or Tokyo. So once experienced and “learnt”, customers feel comfortable and at ease in any Apple store anywhere in the world; they have experienced the Apple “Reality Distortion Field” and know they will not be surprised with differences or inconsistencies.

The above is no different from what differentiates a good movie or book from a bad one. An author or Script Writer or Director can use all kinds of magical, not-invented yet, science fictional artifacts, as long as he or she maintains an “internal logic” in the set of rules governing the magic he or she introduces into the story. In that case, the reader is willing to “suspend’ his or her disbelief.

But woe to the author who changes the rules of the game mid-stream; or introduces a “Deux Ex-Machina” to save an incoherent narrative.

An initial investment of time and effort is necessary on the part of the user or customer to learn new interaction methodologies, retail store processes, look & feel, advertising concepts etc. Steve Jobs leveraged his mastery of PR skills to create, out of both the media and his fanatical followers, a legion of educators who taught and teaches the rest of us how to use each succesive interaction innovation.

The effort necessary to master each succesive innovation, even if facilitated by Apple’s PR and the collaboration of its followers, implies that each of us who engage in this effort has become “vested” in the feature, product, process and ultimately, brand.

And human beings do not mind having to work hard at learning a new skill. In fact, it is a core part of our “exploratory” urge. Steve and Apple leveraged this urge and thus taught us all new methods of interaction with their successive innovations. We are seduced by the game of learning new things.

But we are enthralled by the mastery we feel when our learning can be applied, and shown off, across all sets of features and products. And we come to believe that our emotional attachment is due to a “cool” and “intuitive” design, rather than our vested effort at learning, and our satisfaction at mastering.

Interestingly, the one area where Apple has failed to have a consistent and coherent branding and user experience approach is in most of its non-App and non-iTunes online websites. They are largely indistinguishable from non-Apple online properties, and very distinguishable, in a negative sense, and inconsistent with, iTunes and other Apple products and services.

Thus, if we visit the regular Apple websites, we do not see the nexus, whether in the interaction design, look & feel, design and ultimately, user experience, with iTunes, or the AppStore, or other online properties and product sets.

This is a result of the separation and fragmentation (silo-creation) of resources alluded to in the beginning of this article, and as a consequence, Apple’s websites are boring, no different than any other website, with none of the innovation of its other products, channels and features, and inconsistent with all of them.

The bottom line?

We need to focus on ensuring consistency and coherence across the multiple channels of both sales and branding that the new interactive marketing ecosystem allows for. We need to ensure that the multiplicity of expertise, organizational structures and departments that deal with the diverse set of interactive ecosystem channels does not lead to a corresponding fragmentation of the user experience.

If we succeed we will create passionate and loyal advocates and evangelists of our brands and products.

Cognitive Marketing and cohesive UX branding. OmniChannel Interaction: Implications for User Experience Cohesion.

If we don’t, we will create a sense of indifference and boredom at best, and customer frustration at worst as users and customers have to relearn interaction methods at every juncture of the advertising-sales-product-feature-support touch points.

Didn’t find what you were searching for?

Related posts

You have been working hard and investing a budget on your latest product -you can't wait to get it in front of end users after an arduous design process. But you're also aware that the success of a product or service depends
AB Testing UX As businesses strive to stand out in competitive markets, their success hinges upon understanding and catering to the needs of their users. After all, an exceptional user experience not only fosters customer loyalty but also drives conversions and ultimately
Designing Meaningful Experiences in a Globalized World In today's interconnected world, it is crucial to design products and services that cater to diverse audiences. To achieve this, user research must be situated within the context of global design, considering the social, economic,
As UX researchers and designers, we understand the critical role that user experience research plays in creating successful products that meet the needs of our customers. However, conducting research is only the first step in the process - effectively communicating the findings
In the world of user experience (UX) research and design, stakeholder buy-in is crucial for success, though it is often a point of contention for practitioners who aim to prioritize UX in their organization. Without the support of stakeholders, UX research can
In today's digital landscape, creating a seamless and captivating user experience (UX) has become the cornerstone of success, regardless of the industry you are in. Testing digital assets is one of the most critical aspects to staying competitive. However, it is not
It’s no secret that a well thought out and engaging digital user experience increases sales as well as a loyal customer base. But what happens when your customer base extends into different countries and cultures? Do you copy, paste, and translate your
For years if not decades top management executives from large corporations have talked about how the user experience (UX) of their customers is a top priority. However, a quick & easy user test of even some of the most important and well
What’s the difference between a great user experience and a tolerable one? One might say the high-level stuff, like layout and design, but ultimately it’s in the details, or microinteractions. Microinteractions often make or break a digital user experience. When done well
Accessibility is a crucial aspect of creating digital products that can be used by as many people as possible. When designing a digital product, it's important to consider accessibility so that everyone, including those with disabilities, can access and use the product
They say finding love is one of the hardest things to do as a human being. We’ve been fed this narrative our entire lives, with movies, books, and songs all focusing on how impossible it is to find “the one.” Even in
User Experience (UX) has become a critical differentiating factor for businesses. To meet users' evolving expectations, UX research plays a pivotal role in understanding user behavior, pain points, and preferences. In this context, with the rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), UX
UX designers strive to create intuitive, seamless, and delightful experiences for users —whether for websites, mobile apps, or prototypes. And one of the key components in achieving this goal is user research, a crucial phase where UX experts strive to understand users,
Things to be Thankful for: Advantages of Professional Peer Support in UX Research Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for. As user researchers, we are thankful for the ability to connect with our peers and
2022 has been a busy and exciting time at Userlytics. We’ve launched several new features and capabilities, including sentiment analysis, accessibility testing, the ULX score, and VR testing. These newly implemented tools were designed to enhance your experience and provide you with
As staples of nearly all research conducted today, many people think they know about the differences between qualitative (qual) and quantitative (quant) testing. However, in the context of user research, these two methodologies are often used interchangeably. So, when to use one
Understanding what democratizing user research means is not as simple as searching for the definition online, or asking a colleague for a quick summary. In a general sense, the universal definition is “providing all stakeholders with access to user insight and UX
It's no secret that a good website or app user experience is crucial for boosting sales. In an offline location such as a store or restaurant, being physically present may keep a prospect even if the experience is subpar. But in an
In the ever-evolving realm of user experience (UX) design, research acts as the compass that guides designers towards creating delightful and intuitive digital experiences. As UX designers, we understand the vital role research plays in uncovering user insights, informing design decisions, and
As a UX researcher or designer, it's important to have a clear understanding of your target customer before beginning a remote UX study. Target user research is crucial for designing user-centric products and services. It helps ensure that the end result aligns
User research is an essential part of the UX design process. It helps us to understand our users, their needs, and their pain points. It provides the foundation for ultimately shaping the success of a product or service. However, without a systematic
In remote user experience and usability testing, there are a variety of factors that contribute to valuable, authentic user data that can be used to improve your brand’s user and customer experience. Among those factors are the quality and authenticity of the
Are you thinking about doing some user testing on your website, app or prototype? Are you currently weighing up the different options available to you? Should you use a free video-conferencing tool or a paid user testing platform? What are the differences
If you visited a complex website and found everything you were looking for with ease, it was unlikely a coincidence. A well-designed website structure is often the result of careful user research and testing, following information architecture principles and best practices. So
While remote user experience testing significantly enhances researchers' ability to reach test participants, these participants’ technical skills and access to technology can often vary greatly. Therefore, it is important to design and administer remote tests that facilitate participants' varying technical skills and
Userlytics prides itself in being a truly global platform. With over one million panel testers in over 150 countries, we are happy to say that we are able to find and test your target customers, wherever they may be. With the inception
In today’s highly digital world, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance when running day to day business operations. As usability testing grows in popularity, so does the need to choose a UX platform that values your company's privacy and security. But how
Userlytics makes user experience testing easy, efficient and fun with its state-of-the-art no-download web recorder. This revolutionary user experience testing recorder allows participants to jump right into usability tests directly with a simple click of a button; this means you can more
2021 is a year dedicated to the customer. Businesses are moving away from organizational-centric strategies and thinking more and more about the needs of their customers. But what exactly do customers want? Customers want their experience with brands and digital assets to
Moderated testing sessions are a great opportunity to get thorough and instant feedback from users all around the world. This type of testing involves a live, online interview where you are face-to-face with your users via webcam, asking them questions, guiding them
Researching the ins and outs of your business is integral to setting your company up for success. Increasingly, fine-tuning and improving your customers’ brand experience has become one of the top priorities for businesses. With customer expectations being at an all-time high,
Are you a UX researcher who mainly conducts in-person studies and you’re looking for some online alternatives to get you through this unusual period of lockdown and social distancing? Or perhaps you’re someone who is starting their path down UX enlightenment, looking
Given the current world health and associated economic crisis, Userlytics ran a qualitative moderated ("Live Conversations") user experience study with participants in the US to determine how respondents’ online shopping behavior has changed as a result of the pandemic. The following is
Picture this: an online shopping user clicks on a product they like but the description does not say everything they need to know before making online purchases; key features, pricing and availability, or shipping and return information -strike 1. To find out
The Best and Worst UX in the Travel Industry Finding the best flight deals online can be an exhilarating experience. Almost every booking site today promises the lowest fares available and, in some cases, even a price match guarantee. With such a
Last November 18th our CEO was interviewed by Ditsa Keren, of Website Planet; Here are some excerpts from the interview: “If we take a step back and think about how software has evolved over the past 15 years, the cost and time
Designers are prone to falling into the trap of cluttering their interfaces. Limitations of space often push them to the wall, and they find themselves trying to fit everything they can into a tiny usable space. The unique problem that the modern
How Can Bad UX Influence Your Conversion Funnel? Source: Shengjun Shi Regardless of whether you sell a product, offer a service or run a blog, any visitor comes to your site with simple goals like consuming or gathering more information. The user experience
From initial concept to finished draft, tips on how to craft an effective unmoderated user study A user test is a little bit like cake: you know what a great one looks like, but you’re not quite sure how to go from
Apple has recently entered the race with its Homepod. Which of the two current leaders, Amazon's Alexa (Echo) or Google Home, provides the best user experience? Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems used by banks and utility companies provide some of the clearest
February 22th, 2018 Usability testing data is a sure-fire way to eliminate guess-work and focus on making the UX design process more effective. These types of user tests can help you figure out if your audience can adequately use your website or mobile app. Additionally, they help
In theory, every company these days is customer-centric and has a mobile-responsive design process, and yet a surprising amount of companies haven't updated their online stores or platforms accordingly. Many of them are not leveraging the benefits user testing can bring to their business. Today's
Online shopping is not a new concept. According to statistics, about 80% of Americans are shopping online these days, some exclusively, with zero visits to actual physical stores. With years of experience of e-commerce design and user research, one would think major e-commerce sites
Turning visitors and prospects into paying customers is about more than good advertising and slick SEO. Users are savvy enough to tell the difference between good and bad UX, and it can often be the differentiating factor between a single visit and
Are you delivering the best user experience for your website and mobile app visitors? You may think your website or app offers seamless navigation, intuitive form usage, and an effective way for users to interact with the information being provided. However, the real question is: What
By Mark Hall, Guest Blogger.An e-commerce and Customer Research Expert who has consulted for over 20 years with a wide range of clients including AT&T, American Express, Edmunds, SpyTec and the California Lottery. When not working, Mark enjoys playing saxophone, mountain biking
Everybody working in the IT industry has seen a number of case study videos, where users talk about glitches in software, unavailable options in apps, and their ideal features and interfaces. Running a remote unmoderated usability study seems to be an easy way
The conflict between qualitative and quantitative user experience research methodologies has its origin in a time when computers were only a dream, and with the emergence of the social sciences over a century ago. It lies in a struggle that is much older than
How to tell the difference, and when to bring both into your projects In the world of User Experience Research, there’s often some confusion surrounding the difference between User Studies (and user research in general) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT). In the
Quantifying how good a user experience is, or how well a site meets the needs of its users, can be a difficult task. We can look objectively at metrics like time on task, or success/failure rates to determine user behavior, but they

Let’s work together on your next UX study.

Create positive user experiences and keep customers loyal to your product and brand.

Analytics tells you what,
Userlytics tells you WHY.