… “Here are the three companies that are great examples of designing for user experience.”
The third company – and probably the best example of controlling the user experience – is OnStar. As you know, OnStar’s main business is the delivery of Advisor-assistance after pressing their dedicated buttons inside a vehicle. You would think that might be limited to ‘Where’s the nearest gas station?’ or ‘My son YET AGAIN needs the rest stop’, but you would be wrong.
OnStar has gotten customer calls ranging from requests to arbitrate a domestic dispute to assisting a distraught parent whose child swallowed something poisonous. They have even talked down a suicidal customer. Do you think they await that emergency button press to determine how to react to your immediate needs?
Absolutely not! They have specifically-trained Advisors who have been prepared for a vast variety of situations and who regularly review their recordings to continuous improve the quality. And even if the situation is unforeseen – like a 6-year-old calling about a parent in diabetic shock driving around in circles (which really happened a couple of year ago) – their staff is trained on resolving extreme situations. They even have a Command Center in Detroit, Michigan, that constantly – yes, that means 24 hours a day and 7 days a week – reviews the macro-environment looking for National Weather Service alerts, Amber Alerts, or other emergent news and provides that information as required to the relevant Advisors.
Even further, they have staffed and trained a Crisis Alert team that, in the event of a hurricane, terrorist attack or other catastrophic or disruptive event can organize and rally the Advisors to assist the customer experience from both a micro and macro level. For instance, if a customer had a heart attack in the middle of Manhattan on September 11, 2001, getting them to critical care in the midst of evacuations, contraflow traffic detours and network outages is a ‘user experience’ that must be controlled to not only sustain a customer relationship, but to potentially save a life.
(See the first post in this blog series for context) Now looking and sounding less sassy, my buddy interjected, “But what does that have to do with designing the user INTERFACE? They have three buttons. That’s it. There’s no interface to design.”
“Oh, but there is!” Now I was the one smiling from ear-to-ear. “Imagine a much more common exchange – the customer is driving and wants directions. OnStar foresaw the best possible user experience, which was to permit the driver to focus on the primary task – driving safely. The driver was then able to download the directions to his destination directly to the onboard navigational system. To do all of this, the onboard screens need to display status and permit the driver to interact in a limited-yet-empowering fashion.
So the user interface, in this example, must understand the desired collaboration with the Advisor, what use cases need to be provided, and how to manage the information so the driver need not manage it himself. That parent-child user interface requires coordination between the Advisors workstation GUI and the onboard client’s Human-Machine Interface (HMI). Yes, you could say the designers sculpted two user interfaces, but in concert they are molding a user experience.”
Previous posts in this series: