2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
June 2016 - Magazine No. 201
June 2016 - Magazine No. 201
Edition:
Review: IKEA's UX Magic
Written By Maya Fleisher

Here's a situation I'm sure you're familiar with: you are holding a load of knowledge items of a varying level importance. If you want them to be easily accessible, understandable and useful over time, the following solution is not only practical but also consists of a unique experience. This is really our challenge: how can we use all tools and means available in order to generate a positive experience as well as retain it?

Although I've been involved with Knowledge Management for nearly a decade, which included dealing extensively with user experience (since I believe the relation between the two fields is vital), I must admit that I encounter these issues in "non-work" environments, most probably viewing said issues through a more critical perspective.

So, I'd like to share with you my personal experience as a user and client of a well-known corporation (more specifically, a chain of stores) and how I believe we can learn and apply the knowledge derived from this personal experience in large organizations. I am referring to Swedish furniture phenomenon: IKEA.

At this point, you might ask: Why? What can be so special about IKEA?

Well, according to Wikipedia, IKEA is a chain with consists of 375 stores in 47 states. The chain's catalogue consists of tens of thousands Ready to Assemble (RTA) items, from bags and utensils to entire kitchens. These "stores" include several presentation room which are essentially an infinite number of shelves and many messages.

Have you ever noticed the type of messages IKEA offers? Have you paid any attention to the manner in which the stores are organized or to the way customers are guided by signs and instructions on the floors and products?

Despite the large stores and vast variety of products the network offers which result in a "easy to get lost" experience, a customer entering the store receives guidance and instruction during every stage of the purchasing process: at the entrance one is equipped with a pencil, a tape measure and a bag. Next, the customer is guided by directing signs which also refer to shortcuts and different solutions and applications of the various appliances in a "real" environment (presentation rooms) complete with explanations regarding each product as well as supplementary data regarding safety, the corporation, environmental issues, the products' designers etc. And to top it all- there are (a few) representatives posted around the store, just in case.

When the customer gets home, he is still guided by IKEA via the clear instructions which allow him/her to assemble the products independently. Their website and yearly catalogue convey the same messages.

How do they do it? It is clear to me from my personal user experience from IKEA that the customer/user is considered extensively and UX is an integral part of the company. I believe that through uniform and simple language as well as focus on users and UX IKEA indeed succeeded.

Great, you might say. What can I do with all of this information?

I'm glad you asked. A large organization (and even a medium-sized one) with a large (or fairly large) number of workers, which probably do not all share the same geographical location, usually uses as much messages as workers. Through a number of simple activities, organizations can alter their communication and message conveying experience into a totally different experience.

I recommend the following:

  • Consider and define the feelings/emotions you wish to generate. Is it a sense of seriousness? Is it an atmosphere of collective effort? Do you want them to smile?
  • Define your lingual style and maintain consistency. I recommend also referring to the micro-copy.
  • Define your design "language" which will support your messages: colors, font etc.
  • Review your worker/users' "route", i.e. the different stages a worker goes through from the moment he/she is hired. Consider a worker's schedule: where and when can we communicate with this worker, and what messages do we wish to convey?
  • Locate the exceptional locations in which the user is encountered and consider how these encounters can be utilized for further message-conveying. Pay special attention to micro-interactions.
  • Get a sense of the field, check up with workers occasionally in order to review their experience and understanding and be open to receive more ideas.

 

In conclusion, walking down the corridor, waiting for the elevator or a regular lunch line can be viewed as an opportunity. Grasp it and utilize it. It is one more way to keep in touch with your workers.

 

Nowadays, businesses communicate with clients via digital devices and social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, etc. These digital platforms are extremely popular among advertisers and marketing personnel, since the advertisement/exposure occurs "by the way"; users are using social networks at all times. There is no need to "reach" them and search them out. Thus users can be exposed to marketing in a nearly automatic manner. This is especially true when using personal marketing tools such as cookies, focused marketing technologies, etc.

 

Besides these social networks, the information we manage and the marketing we are exposed to using them, think what a huge chunk of your time has involved using private messaging applications: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, etc. We use these in all different contexts: friends and family, shared interests, hobbies and even kindergarten carpool groups. Consider the role that these Private Messaging applications plat in your day to day routine, what a large portion of your personal data is transferred via private messages, and realize the potential for marketing activity through these channels.

 

Take WhatsApp for example: WhatsApp has over a billion users worldwide. This inconceivable number attests to the fact that we all use WhatsApp and it serves many of our social and communicational needs. This fact established it is only logical that businesses would seek access to this enormous amount of users.

But can businesses really make use of digital platforms for marketing, sales and service? Can Private Messaging applications indeed be utilized for profit?

The answer is: yes. And with some thought invested, the utilization of private messages for business can shift from niche to mainstream technique. Imagine that users could use text messages, Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook in order to communicate with businesses and order products; receive information or service- all in their native tongue? This sounds pretty logical. Why haven't we thought of this before? Better yet, how will this actually occur?

The conversation will involve only one human being (the client) while on the receiving end a robot will offer service. The robot will understand anything written to it by the client, regardless of the language used. The robot is programmed to then offer the best service to the needs presented to it, based on AI. The application uses "bots" programmed to answer the users' questions within the Private Messaging application format. These bots scan the organizational data sources as well as the web in order to provide an answer for any question presented. Thus, the forecasted future of private messaging will enable customers to digitally converse with businesses via various digital devices, making the conversation central and the digital means peripheral. The conversation is the platform.

This new paradigm has been applied in China for quite a while. The online tools available to a marketing manager in china are different than those used in the west. Google, YouTube and Facebook aren't available in Chine and so when operating in the Chinese Market one must adapt to its Private Messaging tools, such as WeChat. The 'western' application most similar to WeChat is WhatsApp, yet this is hardly a valid comparison since WeChat offers so much more. WeChat has become a leading tool for both business needs and managing many aspects of day to day life: using WeChat one can pay and receive payment, order plane tickers, pay one's bills and donate money to charity. Social connections in China are maintained mainly through WeChat, affectively making it a necessity.

What about the west? Businesses are beginning to adapt Private Messaging platforms for enhanced communication with clients. When Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has over a billion users, he hinted towards the future of social media: "We are working hard in order to connect more people around the globe and make it simpler to communicate with businesses". Air France KLM and Facebook Messenger have collaborated in order to enable its clients to check in, receive updates on flights, change flights and communicate with customer service.

 The objective is to provide the customer with service regardless of their physical or digital location. Customers usually don't spend much time on Airline applications. There are many customers that won't even download it since its added value is very limited (considering that most customers do not fly often and/or use the same airline each time). Even if they do, they probably won't use it again next time they travel. Facebook Messenger, on the other hand, is an application nearly anyone has since it answers many needs and thus is used constantly. Wouldn’t it therefore be easier to communicate with customers at their usual digital location? This thought has led companies to collaborations with Private Messaging applications and social media companies in order to create a new platform to meet their clients through.

Communicating with customers encompasses challenges as well as opportunities. On the customers' behalf it is perceived as more personal: a personal platform, personal conversation, Local language, etc. From the business's perception, it enables more "meeting points" with customers i.e. more sales opportunities and brand exposure. Using this platform can easily enable greater commitment on customer's behalf. Private Messaging creates unique opportunities for "casual" interactions with customers in an unorthodox location instead of the usual means which require them to intentionally utilize them.

Nevertheless, the challenges cannot be ignored. When using Private Messaging applications, businesses cannot fully control user experience.  The application already exists as a platform with its own look and feel. These platforms open the door for businesses and enable them to communicate with their customers yet the real power stays in the hands of the application supplier. This fact can present some difficulty to the business and require more it to invest more effort in creating a high quality user experience which could have probably been attained if the business fully owned the Private Messaging platform.

Furthermore, we are talking about a whole new kind of KM. Robots, bots, new platforms, large amounts of users, personal knowledge management, collaborating with a third party (the Private Messaging platform supplier) are only some of the subjects that should be reviewed from a KM perspective when regarding the field of private messaging.

This new field undoubtedly requires a revision of knowledge management and retaining methodologies. But the future is here. These platforms are already an integral part of our life, routine and data. One way or another, we must rise to these challenges.

References:

 

https://econsultancy.com/blog/67697-does-the-rise-of-messaging-apps-mean-brands-need-a-bot-strategy/?utm_source=Econsultancy&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6958453_2218-daily-pulse-uk-2016-04-05&dm_i=LQI,4556D,M1ZBB8,F1ZV4,1

https://econsultancy.com/blog/67551-private-messaging-is-social-s-next-big-ad-frontier

https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat

 

http://cafe.themarker.com/post/3274481/

Written By Elad Piran

Data visualization is a visual representation of data, presentation of data using a form of visual communication or "presenting data in a schematic or pictorial manner while including different interchangeable and data units" (Wikipedia). The objective of presenting data in this manner is communicating the presented data to the user simply and usefully. In other words:

Present the data>discover it>understand it>decide!

Examples of data visualization:

(For source, click here)

 

 

(For source, click here)

 

Best practices for Data visualization

The visual data should provide added value beyond the "dry" information usually presented in basic charts, graphs and tables. Comparative information should be compared to quantifiable and well-defined objectives. Data should be simple and clearly understandable by users. Choose the type of visual presentation suitable for the presented information (e.g. timelines for presenting trends over time, a pie chart for comparing different parts of a whole, etc). Connect the users to your information, accustom them to use information presented to them.

Hereby are several YouTube videos on the subject. There are thousands of similar videos available on the web:

"The Future of Data Visualization" – Jeffrey Heer

 

 The beauty of data visualization – David McCandless

 

 ReForm | Data Becomes Art in Immersive Visualizations

 

Telling stories with data visualization and D3

 In conclusion

I think that the following sentence, which I have read in some blog, best summarizes the subject of information and the need for business intelligence and advanced tools for the actualization of said BI. One of these tools is Data Visualization. This sentence simply states that: "Data Is the New Water" (Paul Weiskopf, Senior" Vice President of Corporate Development at Domo). Similarly to the water flowing through our body, data flows through an organization. A data needs information as much as we as individuals need water for sustenance. The information flow is essential for the organization to grow and prosper. BI (and data visualization as part of it) is the tool that enables the information flow in the organization, and as such is vital.

 

Further references:

10 Business Intelligence Trends for 2016

The Future of Business Intelligence

Five years: top ten speculations for the future of BI

The Best Business Intelligence Tools: 50 Software Tools to Help You Analyze Data to Make Smarter Business Decisions

http://www.ngdata.com/top-business-intelligence-blogs/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_visualization

http://www.gooddata.com/blog/5-data-visualization-best-practices

 

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