The products and services we use form an integral part of our identity. To be successful, they need to connect with us on many levels from emotional to practical.
The user experience is a vital component in forging this bond, from out-of-box through to daily use, the way we experience products and services shapes our relationships with them and is a determining factor on their success or failure. Great products and services imply a deep understanding of the user needs, combined with a considered design approach.
Over two decades Frontend.com has worked with ambitious consumer brands to deliver great products. Often pioneering the first iteration of a user experience for the rest of the market to follow. From early interactive TV designs, through to virtual medical device training delivered on a global scale, and from the first online banking systems through to pioneering accessible government services.
The first-time user experience is a critical element in successful product design. The out-of-box experience focuses on the initial setup and learning, but the user journey often starts earlier in the retail or online store. Understanding the user needs at all touchpoints along the journey is critical. The cost of failure is high, with over USD 9 billion of consumer electronics returned to stores each year because users failed to complete the initial setup phase correctly. Our research team explore design possibilities from point of sale, through to packaging, and on to out-of-box setup and instructions. Whether it is a consumer app or a medical device, it needs to work easily and it needs to work the first time.
Customers engage with your products and services across multiple devices, be they mobile, desktop, or audio devices. They tap, gesture, and speak to these devices. There may also be a cause for them to visit a physical store or interact with service representatives on a one-to-one basis. For success, it is essential to understand the different contexts and use-cases that can arise in each of these situations and to design a consistent user experience across all interaction points. It is equally important to engage and delight these users. The aim is to design an interconnected and engaging customer journey as users move from channel to channel and from device to device.
Design for Failure
Things go wrong! Sometimes it is unavoidable and unforeseeable. But it is possible to plan for failure. The cost of product support can quickly undermine product profitability. For technical products, these costs are even higher. User testing throughout the design process helps to refine the solution. However, test feedback prior to launch can become a foundation of a more effective customer support strategy. Our research in customer support centre’s consistently highlighted issues that are known, but not easily supported. Service staff struggle to identify the issues and to effectively communicate recovery steps to users. Providing easy to use self-help options, such as troubleshooting videos and online knowledge bases for known issues, can dramatically reduce support costs. If customer care does need to step-in, ensuring that the issue is dealt with easily can save time and money, as well as reassuring customers.
Frontend.com Consumer Products
Our multi-disciplinary consumer products design team is based in our studio in Dublin, Ireland. Unlike most design consultancies, our research is conducted by professional researchers, while our design team have two decades of experience in consumer software, complex systems, usability, psychology, branding, data visualisation, computer science, and business process improvement. We engage with all stakeholders, understanding their environments and creating solutions that work at every touchpoint. Contact us to collaborate on your upcoming consumer product project.