UX design for better business outcomes in the IoT-world

Grace Kraus says brands that can effectively integrate data and UX design with IoT will be the market leaders and customer favourites of tomorrow.

Grace KrausWith the number of connected IoT (internet of things) devices, sensors and actuators expected to increase by 200%, reaching over 46 billion between 2016 and 2021, it’s no surprise enterprises are planning to increase their investments in it by 33% in the next 12 months.

As more connected homes, cars, and wearables become staples in everyday living, the way we interact with apps and websites is drastically changing. No longer are we solely using a product or service through its own user interface, as interconnected systems now leverage voice, location and behaviour to drive interactions. Google Home, for example, can now directly start your Spotify playlist, while geo-location apps can automatically suggest the best route to get home from work based on the time and your location.

Consequently, as the way we use and interact with technology continues to change at a rapid pace, user experience (UX) design and strategy also needs to in order to reflect and stay ahead of these changes.

 

The impact of data on UX is magnifying

Data has always played a key role in UX design and the boom in connected devices is creating exponential growth in the amount available. If marketers are able to put the right tools and processes in place to effectively harness this data and use it to drive smart business and marketing strategies, UX designs can be optimised on the fly, in more targeted ways than ever before.

With up-to-date information on conversion-rates and A/B testing for example, UX designers can continually improve user interfaces, stages in app user flows, and also the overall functions and features of a product.

Furthermore, looking at broader trends, 59% of consumers would buy more if retailers used their data to understand their individual needs and requirements better. Consequently, marketers and business leaders should be recognising that the results of leveraging user behaviour and customer data are not only going to lead to stronger user engagement and more time on your website or app, but also have a direct impact on your bottom line.

Enabling the UX team for success with martech

Marketing technology (martech) tools and processes, as aforementioned, are critical to the success of any UX strategy looking to capitalise on the impact and growth of IoT. This could include content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) systems, marketing automation, or email automation tools.

It is critical for marketers to recognise that simply having these tools in place will not lead to the productivity and user engagement improvements unless:

  • There are new processes to reflect the capabilities of the tools: CRM systems are often set-up within a business, after months of customisation and training, only to be left on their own for updating by the marketing team. This technology should become an integrated part of the everyday habits of sales and management, as well as marketing. While training in the tool is the first step to achieving this goal, implementing meaningful objectives for how and why different departments should be using it regularly will ensure the technology’s capabilities are actually leveraged throughout the business.
  • The tools are integrated: Having a CMS and CRM system up and running in silos means that the marketing team can only tap into a fraction of these technologies’ actual capabilities and limits the positive impact it can have on the business. Knowing which products a customer has viewed on your website in the last week, paired with what products they have bought in the past year, will provide infinitely stronger insights in comparison to either of those pieces of information being available disparately.
  • The data analysis is made available to UX: UX teams that are regularly updated on the marketing teams’ analysis of customer data will be best equipped to remain agile and utilise an iterative design approach. Leaving the UX team to design intuitive, user-friendly, and compelling apps and websites, without the customer insights that marketers have at their fingertips, will not only lead to potentially poorly designed products, but also wasted investments in mar-tech that could be delivering higher value to the business.

 

Related: Phil Herborn says UX is too important to be left to UX designers »

Businesses in denial about the rapid shifts in how consumers are engaging with brands because of the growth of connected devices, will undoubtedly fall behind competitors.

As marketers and business leaders start to embrace these changes, however, it is critical to ensure the right resources, skills, and consultants are in place to ensure the business is investing in the right areas and making the most of them as they make their way into daily business processes. Organisations that can effectively tie these changes and new technologies into UX strategies, will quickly become market leaders and gain customer loyalty ahead of competitors.

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Grace Kraus is head of design experience at Squiz.

Main image: audioundwerbung / 123RF Stock Photo