The digital landscape is rapidly changing. Technology is becoming more sophisticated, and consumers’ expectations for digital experiences continues to increase. Below is a list of 5 digital experience developments we’ll see more of in the coming 2017 year.
Notification Centered Experiences
How we experience content on our devices is undergoing a dramatic change; we are relying less on applications and more on notifications. We are beginning to see more sophisticated notifications, so-called “interactive notifications,” which allows the user to transact without even opening the app. Only a few brands have delivered these more sophisticated interactive notifications, but a couple of great examples stand out: iOS text messaging which enable users to reply to text messages within the notification saving the time involved in opening up the messenger app to reply and Uber which allows the user to message the driver directly from the notification app. This trend will continue as notifications become more sophisticated. Perhaps soon, we will see brands allowing customers to pay their bills through integrated Apple pay notifications.
Companies are pushing themselves to simplify digital experiences. Amazon’s dash button lets you place an immediate order by simply pushing a physical button. Amazon Go Stores flip the physical shopping experience on its head – customers can shop by simply picking products and walking out – no need to wait in line or to pull out a credit card. Domino’s app takes it even further, as soon as a customer launches the app, an order is automatically placed for the same pizza that was last ordered by the customer (the user has 10 seconds to cancel the order). Another example is Google’s new inbox. It uses advanced machine learning to scan received emails to predict your reply. Its predictions are frighteningly accurate, and the simple one-click interface makes the experience extremely simple and easy to use.
Conversational UI & Bots
We’re witnessing a wave of apps that no longer have a graphical user interface. They are called bots or more broadly “conversational interfaces.” They can be entirely driven by artificial intelligence, or by a real person and many are hailing them as a fundamental shift in the way we interact with digital services and content. Interestingly, the conversational nature tends to make the experience more human, even if you know you’re communicating with a bot. A great example is MasterCard. Just message the MasterCard bot “how much did I spend last night, ” and an immediate response comes back in a friendly tone. Chipmunk is another good example of a helpful bot messaging experience. In 2017, we will see more brands experimenting with bots and conversational interfaces to create more personal and simplified digital experiences.
Personalized experience bases its behavior on the user’s past choices, and with access to user data, these digital experiences make informed decisions on the user’s behalf, predicting what they want, often before customers know they want it. Personalization is far from new, but it is becoming more sophisticated. Netflix suggests content based on your viewing habits and many airlines are now sending targeted emails about deals when site visitors leave their sites without booking flights. In 2017, we will see more brands investing in better data infrastructure to enable more effective personalization.
The highly fragmented home automation (IoT) market is starting to show signs of consolidation. Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home are opening up their ecosystems for other brands to participate. It is still early, but some brands are getting the user experience right by integrating core services within these ecosystems. Take Capital One; they have integrated bill their payment system within Amazon Echo. Customers can pay their bills or retrieve their balance by simply speaking to “Alexa.” Apple HomeKit has also amassed an impressive list of partners that allow users to control much of their home through a single app. This will probably reduce the number of home automation hubs and increase adoption. In 2017, more brands will seek integration with these ecosystems to stay relevant and be accessible to their customers.
It is easy to get caught up chasing the latest whizzbang technology but this is clearly not the right approach. Keep your user at the forefront, understand their needs and plan your digital investments accordingly.