A Dozen Ways to Create Fruitful Customer and User Experiences

I attended a joint Fimecc – FutIs – UXUS final seminar titled:

“Harvest Fest: A Dozen Ways to Create Fruitful Customer and User Experiences”

on September the 8th 2015.

Fimecc is a high impact, co-creation platform of professionals who are delivering UX (user experience) as a competitive advantage to their organization and are at the forefront of redefining their industries.

How does putting user experience first change the way organizations work? More organizations are realizing that UX is giving them a competitive edge while UX is rising awareness in the development of industrial products and services. A shared quality for the cases presented at the seminar was a strong emphasis on user needs, values and preferences and thorough understanding the user with empathy. The empathy was gained from user observations and interviews, as well as interview with domain experts.

There are various aspects to gaining insight and inspiration for UX goal setting: Brand, Empathy, Technology and Vision. Each aspect takes on a different viewpoint, illustrating the multidisciplinary nature of UX. The brand aspect confirms that the UX goals are consistent with the company’s brand promise. The empathy aspect converges on understanding the actual users and stepping into their shoes. The technology aspect takes into account the new technologies that are being introduced and their positive or negative influence on UX. Finally, the vision aspect aims at renewal, introducing new kinds of UXs.

UX applies to the experiences originating from encountering systems, and the way a user feels about using a product, service or system in a work context. It is a course of ensuring product stability, where the key is to define usability requirements in the early phases of product development. When designing for good usability, the general usability criteria of effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction can be taken as starting points and precise user requirements for functionality can be defined accordingly. To first define the intended experience and only then to think about the possible designs that evoke such experience is the principle behind the UX-driven design.

The brand–based aspect is created on the concept that UX of products is an experience-driven innovation that aims at a consistent company brand and product experience. Konecranes takes on the ways of using technology as a source of new business opportunities and product experience. They are interested in customer’s technology lifecycle and how technology is in customer’s use. Capturing and communicating the perceived benefits from user experience requires deep understanding of customer’s perspective. First, they query the customer’s needs and expectations thus enhancing the customer’s proactive role in telling about the use of the service. Secondly, they know the real time situation by observing and experiencing the technology in use. Finally, they foresee the future uses of technology and demonstrate its potential for the customer. The benefit of this approach is in bringing the customer knowledge into the new business and identifying service opportunities during a technology adoption cycle. Rolls Royce brand can be seen as a source for UX goals in another way: the company aims to emphasize their brand as an innovative forerunner, thought leader company with new radical innovation, which is reflected in safety driven design and interaction technologies.

By understanding users with empathy, the designers can obtain inspiration for products and services that provide good UX. In KONE’s case observation and interviews were used to gain empathic understanding of the users. Empathy-based UX is based on in-depth understanding of users and their work, is appropriate for the target context of use and is in line with the brand experience. Empathy based UX goals can be identified in KONE’s case, where the aspects of EX (emotional experience) are clearly present in the high-level UX goals avoiding discomfort and expertise assistance. In the case of interaction with elevator the “People Flow” brand of the company more humane UX-oriented, is describes how the company wants the users to feel about using their elevators.

This requires designers to engage with users and their culture so as to understand how the users grasp technology in their lives. We can discern two elements of empathy: affective and cognitive. The affective component involves emotional response, feeling and identifying with the user: becoming the user. The cognitive component includes understanding, perspective taking, and imaging the other: staying beside the user. Co-design can be seen as one form of empathic design. In co-design, the user’s role changes from that of a passive research object to that of an active design partner.

With UX goals we can ensure a smooth introduction of new technologies to the usage context. UX goals help in drawing one’s attention to the positive experiences that the technology can facilitate and, on the other hand, UX goals can focus on minimizing the anticipated negative experiences such as a lost sense of control. MacGregor is co-designing industrial life-cycle solutions by providing a productivity care service to increase customer understanding of the product. The idea is to make the most of the asset by value verification and value configuration. (Maximum investment efficiency, capability to improve customer processes).  Understanding the customers’ processes and what drives their value creation processes they can create better experience for users and customers, which in turn leads to increased sales. This is accomplished by joint identification of value creating opportunities and integration and customization of services and goods.

Sometimes UX inspiration comes from investigating the deep reasons for product existence and envisioning renewal: vision for desirable possibilities. Activities include envisioning the UX goal and user-product interaction, as well as formulating the target product appraisal and the target product character. The vision approach focuses on renewal – whether a new kind of product experience can be introduced. Fastems realized that better user experience enables differentiation in the competition. This is where building an organizational awareness, a commonly shared mindset where UX is considered as a strategic asset and at the core of new product development come into play. In the design of industrial systems, emphasizing UX as a strategic design decision starts by furthering the UX issues in decision making and incorporating UX in the company’s product strategy.


Reference: Eija Kaasinen , Virpi Roto , Jaakko Hakulinen , Tomi Heimonen , Jussi P. P. Jokinen , Hannu Karvonen , Tuuli Keskinen , Hanna Koskinen , Yichen Lu , Pertti Saariluoma , Helena Tokkonen , Markku Turunen (2015): Defining user experience goals to guide the design of industrial systems, Be-haviour & Information Technology, Vol. 34, Iss. 10, 2015.


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