The present day user of any digital interface has more options than ever before. They can interact with companies through an ever increasing amount of channels, and many organizations aim to reach their users more and more through online mediums. The increase in the diversity of digital interfaces has grown to include:
- Social Media
But the key that organizations must understand is that although their customers and users are interacting with them in an increasingly diverse way, there is still a single, unified user experience. This concept is called the cross channel user experience and is of utmost importance in today’s digital world. Companies must pay attention and tailor their many user channels to fit a single user journey and experience.
The growth of tablet and mobile applications is the biggest factor that forces modern companies to develop different channels of reaching their customers and users. There were 195 million tablets sold in 2013 alone and smart phone usage is at an all time high.
It is important that your company tailors all channels of communication to suit the user, regardless of how they are accessing it. Applications and web pages must be designed and developed separately to ensure they work independently through web, tablet, or mobile use.
But, it is of utmost importance to provide the user with a single, recognizable user experience across platforms to create an identifiable and coherent cross channel user experience. This is especially important because most customers or users will access a company’s digital communication through more than one medium.
Seamlessness and consistency
According to Nielsen Norman Group, 2 of the most important requirements for a usable cross channel experience are: Seamlessness is a necessity because users often don’t complete an activity in one sitting or through a single channel. Often, they may be interrupted, moving between digital channels, or transitioning from online to in person interactions. Because of this, companies and organizations need to provide a seamless experience as their users move from channel to channel to complete activities.
The continuity of their experience becomes even more difficult and important as the change between a digital channel and physical store location takes place. The other requirement for a usable cross channel experience is consistency. Users must feel comfortable while using a company’s different digital channels and consistency can provide comfort, familiarity, as well as trust. According to Nielsen Norman Group, this is particularly apparent in factors such as visual design, functionality, user interactions, and the overall tone and feel of the company.