Reduce Consumer Anxiety Using “Feedback Design”

Forrester is one of the leading supporters of Customer Experience.  In one of their posts (by Kerry Bodine), they say: “Of the six disciplines in Forrester’s customer experience maturity model, design is probably the least understood. It’s is not taught in most business schools (although this is starting to change at institutions like Stanford and the University of Toronto). It’s also not widely practiced in most companies outside of specialized groups that focus on digital touchpoints. And so it remains a mystery to most business people. That’s a shame, because design is an incredibly valuable business tool — and it’s accessible to just about anyone in any organization.”

Design is becoming increasingly important in all touchpoints a company has with its customers: we, consumers, have been spoiled.  Products like the iPhone, iPads, mobile and web apps like GMail and Evernote, interfaces in general, got us used to expect simplicity and “feedback design”.  What do I mean by “Feedback Design”?  imagine you are on a website trying to order a pizza, you choose a Hawaiian large pizza, and are ready to check out, except that when you click on the check out link, nothing seems to happen: the button does not give you the feel of being clicked, it does not change color, you do not hear a sound, for a few seconds, you do not perceive any feedback from the web page.  I say perceive, because you are used to hearing a click sound, or seeing the button actually get pressed down when you click on it, it may even change colors.  In these few seconds of zer0 perception / zero feedback, what do you feel? if you are a typical online shopper, you probably decided to order online because it felt convenient for you to do so, you don’t have much time, and it empowers you to do what you want to do.  Keyword “empowers”.  You expect empowerment, yet, what happened is exactly the opposite: you did not feel in control anymore, you did not feel empowered.  You feel lost, confused, you are not sure if the website actually accepted your click, you may even try to click again on “check out”, a feeling of anxiety, however minor, creeps up.  You are disappointed!

This is how important “feedback” is in the online experience.  We now expect it, and if we do not get the perception of “feedback”, we are frustrated, and disappointed.  The web and its brainchild, the mobile app industry understood this long ago.  To top things up, being multi channel creatures, consumers now expect such “feedback” from any other self service channel we use: the beeping sound of your choice on an IVR when calling a support line, the audio sound or color change of a button pressed at an ATM, or the click sound of a button at a donation kiosk in a mall.

Feedback Example on Self Service Interface - Before
Feedback Example on Self Service Interface – Before
Feedback Example on Self Service Interface - After
Feedback Example on Self Service Interface – After

When designing for a self-service channel, make sure your design incorporates basics of “feedback” and ensure you deliver an “anxiety” free experience to your users.

Published by Gaby Abi Aad

Gaby Abi Aad has extensive experience in IT and digital marketing, two fields he is very passionate about, in addition to humanities, philosophy and history. Gaby currently works at an IT company, his opinions are his own.

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