Video Game Lessons for Improving your User Interface/Experience

I hate my remote control.

I’m sure many of you have had this experience: you know the one I’m talking about. Where your 9 year old kid can figure out 15 ways to do something with technology, but you’re still left trying to figure out how to record Star Trek: TNG?

Technology companies know this.

It’s no mistake that many cable companies, satellite companies, and other tech service firms have follow up calls or emails trying to get users to engage and ‘try’ to use their technology.

User experience – or the ability to use and benefit from the use – is critical in such services’ success.  And when people (like me) can’t use the remote – that leads to all sorts of buy remorse, frustration and good old fashioned bad word of mouth (not to mention returns). The good cmpanies realize they have to “teach” their customers how to engage with their service. The longer the customer goes without “engaging” the more likely that customer will cancel their service.

User Interface According to the World of Video Gaming

So in business, why are we still grappling with “User Interface” or the ability to help a consumer “onramp” into a company’s service or experience?  Poor user-interface:

  • Is evident in the stunned, glassy-eyed look as people in a cue scan a restaurant menu board trying to make sense of its organization.
  •  Is displayed when visitors are constantly visiting a customer service desk asking “WHERE is….?” Because the signage is so poor or there are no understandable floor plans in the store.
  • Is blatantly obvious when consumers flea from the premises because they’re too frustrated: they’re sick of “looking” for what they want.

How to solve this problem? Take a page from the Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG)’s out there.  The best ones use some of these tips:

  • Deliver what your audience can handle, in chunks they can handle.  If your website provides car repair information, provide an easy way to filter out information for the beginner as well as the master mechanic.
  • Grow with your audience. Just as Harry Potter (and fans) aged through his time at Hogwarts, so too will your readers’ or customers’ information needs. Grow with them. Give them new stuff to chew on.
  • Give them new ways to prove themselves. In World of Warcraft (WoW), for example, players are “tested” in difference situations, which upon completion let them advance to new levels. How can you keep your customers or readers challenged and engaged? Remember, even caged bears at the zoo like foraging for their meals.
  • Tip off your readers and customers to new experiences. As your customer progresses, provide tips or insights into new things they can do or experience.

This may mean mapping out the ideal customer experience – diagraming how customers will adapt and adopt the behaviors you’re wanting them to learn, but it’s well worth the exercise.  This can help you identify opportunities to nudge customers to try new things that are just a “side step” from what they are currently doing, and how to identify when a customer needs “help” (such as on your site.)

How are you making your business easier to engage with?


Category: Customer Relationships, Customer service, Websites

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