The team at Frank are constantly finding new ways to improve the digital experience for our clients and their customers.
I took some time with directors Matt Barbelli and Alex Moyse to get an understanding of where they see things heading over the next year.
Strategy and customer Experience
Data over ‘feel’/intuition
Matt: Clients are continually looking to improve the way they connect – but we’re getting much better at untangling the sheer mass of data available, and making better use of it. So we’re seeing a move away from basing decisions on assumptions and impulse.
Alex: Of course, data can’t do everything because behaviours don’t always occur in a linear fashion. So what this added data gives us is a stronger framework. We still need creativity to make use of the insights it gives us. Rely solely on data and you might miss opportunities. Ignore it and you’re guessing, when your competitors are doing better – it’s a matter of getting that balance right.
A more complete picture of our customers
Alex: Smart businesses are linking data from every touchpoint for a better picture of each individual customer, so they can better target their offer.
Matt: Banks have been doing a great job of this for some time. But we’re seeing it across the spectrum – leading to more personalised messaging.
And using it to improve the offer
Matt: Again, banks are already great at using their data to trigger relevant offers. It allows them to reduce the amount of irrelevant (and annoying!) messaging. But other businesses are taking advantage too – even if they don’t start with the depth of information that banks have.
Alex: The Internet Of Things will play an increasing role over time too, simply by offering more touchpoints to measure. Need milk? You won’t need to tell us – your fridge has already done it for you.
Alex: Siri, Cortana, Facebook Chat bots, Amazon Echo and Google Home have all paved the way for automated conversations. We’re going to see more of it too. And the more information a business has, the better they can tailor them.
If done well, those conversations can lead to more purchases. It’s about making the overall experience seamless and addressing any doubt from the user there and then.
Matt: Younger people seem to be into it – so much so that platforms like Kik are now successfully pushing promoted chats out via SMS. To those born digitally-native, having a near-human conversation is as good as it needs to be.
Alex: Thing is, those conversations still have to be interesting in their own right. And feel like they are conversations.
Matt: Hard sell’s a massive turn off here, because you’re in their personal zone.
Alex: Everything we’re talking about is part of an overall trend towards more personalisation. The days of ‘Dear Valued Customer’ are long gone when we can now get, hold and make good use of an individual’s nuances and personal preferences.
Matt: And it’s shaping the offering too. Businesses are in a better place to predict future behaviour based on past. So the broad offer and the details – like when to offer – can be tweaked to create an ideal fit.
Alex: While VR has become more high profile, to many it’s still seen as a bit of a toy – a gamer’s thing. But we’re seeing the real value of VR to be in professional applications. Especially those that currently require people to imagine things that haven’t been made yet. With VR, they’ll be able to ‘experience’ them.
Matt: Architecture and real estate are obvious areas. You can imagine a walk through being far more exciting if you feel like you’re there. But there’ll be other areas it’ll be huge too.
Alex: Who knows? There’s so much entertainment content coming out for VR we might see more commercial ideas come straight out of that!
Matt: I’m really excited about the way digital design’s heading. We’re now seeing more movement, exploration, unstructured layouts and subtlety.
Matt: We’re heading towards a golden period of digital design and editorial design is key. What that means is a more graphic and dynamic exploration of pages. Digital typography is getting closer to the standards of print typography – because we’re now much better able to have it work properly across different viewing devices. The result is more beautiful design that engages the reader.
Matt: Digital has the distinct advantage over print of course, in that it can include anything – and motion is huge here.
Alex: For starters there’s the ability to add video – virtually a pre-requisite for many who just don’t want to read more than a few words. But it’s also about typography and backgrounds moving.
To a large extent this is dependent on bandwidth and graphics processors – but they’re both areas that are continually improving.
Micro interactions and animations
This is a whole area that helps ‘humanise’ a digital design. The way a page opens, or a button clicks – those details that remove clunkiness and make you feel like you’re doing something organic.
It still takes a lot of work to make things feel simple, but those little differences can make a big difference to the way people think of your brand.