Enhance User Experience with Digital Transformation Empowered by Design Thinking – Unleash

Enhance User Experience with Digital Transformation Empowered by Design Thinking

Enhance User Experience with Digital Transformation Empowered by Design Thinking

Enhance User Experience with Digital Transformation Empowered by Design Thinking

Digital user experience (Digital UX) design is indispensable to a successful digital transformation. Amy Ip, a digital user experience specialist with years of solid experience in the U.S., Mainland China and Hong Kong, believes that designing a better service for users lies at the heart of both design thinking and digital transformation. Taking the recent pandemic as an example, she explains how design thinking can help elevate digital user experience. She also concludes the three major aspects of digital transformation that can lead to more competitive services and products, and shares tips for startups and SMEs.

Hong Kong businesses’ digital transformation has been relatively slow over the past few years. Amy notes that Mainland China has outpaced Hong Kong in the development of internet-related industry due to the rapid growth of digital products. Consumers familiar with the comparable service experiences naturally have higher expectations, and it forces businesses to make continuous improvement and focus more on digital user experience design. “In the past, local digital services providers were not faced with the same fierce competition as their Mainland counterparts did. So their strategic digital innovation and investment were generally more conservative as they had a rather stable business growth. Without in-depth analysis of customers’ behaviours and expectations, some companies might overlook the opportunities brought by digital transformation and were thus unable to identify the potential risks.” Amy believes that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in Hong Kong as it has obviously changed the way we live and use online platforms. “Online platforms offer ease and convenience, and the trend is expected to continue even after the pandemic is over. Therefore, businesses should strive to catch up.”

Attract Customers with Better User Experience

When developing a new growth strategy, businesses would usually analyse the market trends to identify the quickest and most cost-effective solution to meet the users’ needs. However, Amy believes that understanding users’expectations and changes is also important. She explains, “Users’ expectations are rapidly changing and may be affected by other industries. We call this ‘liquid expectation’1.” The design of food delivery mobile apps, for instance, is quite mature. The enlarged images with descriptions and easy-to-use ordering systems have shaped users’ expectation of the online shopping process. If the e-commerce platform of a vendor selling fresh vegetables and fruits is only designed for PC users, mobile users may be deterred by the small or packed fonts or the complicate interface, and leave the website without making a purchase.

“Empathy” is the first step of design thinking application. It helps businesses understand the needs of users and stakeholders during the digital transformation process, so that they can identify the areas for improvement, and figure out how to improve the user experience to retain users or even gain market share from competitors.

Amy adds, “Digital user experience design is not only about the buttons, texts or image layout on the user interface. Other experiences, such as the features available on the mobile and PC platforms and overall user satisfaction, should also be considered.”

Understand Users’ Needs for Better Internal Collaboration

Amy reminds businesses to pay attention to three aspects before implementing digital transformation. First, they should understand the expectations and needs of the users so as to provide sufficient flexibility and scalability for the digital technologies and operations when planning the process structure and design in respond to the users’ “liquid expectation”.

Second, companies should carry out internal research to have a clear picture of the collaboration between departments, the concerns of employees and the support they need during the digital transformation process. “For example, a physical store may only need to update its products and marketing campaign quarterly. But an online store may have to update its portfolio every two weeks and launch a new campaign weekly. Can the procurement and marketing teams keep up?”

Last but not least, the emerging artificial intelligence and big data allow businesses to know the needs of their customers better and expand their offerings accordingly. A good example is the “A Thousand People, A Thousand Faces” concept of Taobao that focuses on offering personalised product recommendations for users, highlighting the need to strengthen customer loyalty through in-depth preference analysis.

Utilising Design Thinking to Lower Costs and Risks

While startups and SMEs may not have sufficient resources to embark on digital transformation, and may be concerned about the effectiveness of such move, Amy points out that the design thinking tools can help them evaluate the risks and lower the related costs. “Many startups have great ideas but fail to sell their products as customers do not know them well and their products do not match the market needs.” Therefore, understanding what the users need is the first step to make it work. Design thinking equips startups and SMEs with different techniques to study and discuss with their users so as to assess the desirability of their products.

In addition, companies should be patient and prudent. For example, before developing a new app or online platform, they may take the business online with the help of an affordable third-party platform. This process of creating a “prototype” enables them to examine the viability of business transformation quickly. Amy adds that startups and SMEs may divide a project into several smaller tasks to validate the effectiveness of the whole process.

1 Liquid Expectation is a jargon by Fjord,press here to learn more.

Amy is a specialist in design thinking, an approach to innovate and transform businesses by leveraging people-centered design methodology to help capture opportunities and bring ideas to market. She is a co-founder of CaaS,consulting businesses to build services to connect and build relationships with customers.

Amy received her Master of Interaction Designer and Bsc. Information and Decision Systems at Carnegie Mellon University.

Press here for Amy’s LinkedIn.