Digital experiences don’t happen by accident, they’re thoughtfully and imaginatively designed tools backed by actionable data. In this post we’ll explore how these key elements go hand-in-hand to create custom software solutions your users actually want.
With so many businesses making digital transformation a top priority for growth, it’s important to understand what really goes into creating an experience your users want (and not just one that you want them to have). Organizations now have access to troves of data that can be used to greatly improve the digital experience, but that data on its own isn’t enough. To turn data into tools, websites, and applications that stick, imagination is always required.
This can be a hard thing to sell people on because the business world doesn’t always equate success with imagination. Instead, the focus is placed on tangible items such as metrics, lead generation, and sales. But these are the desired outcomes, not the driving factors that propel them into motion.
Data drives results, imagination creates impact
Data may excite you, but your users aren’t thinking twice about it. Instead, they (unknowingly) care about how you leveraged it to create something they really want. Imagination plays a vital role here because it allows you to get up close and personal with the data by using it as a guide to creating new, unique, and memorable digital experiences for your target audiences. As Forbes puts it, “an inability to deliver superior customer experience (CX) comes from a lack of imagination, not a lack of technology.”
Technology is everywhere and it’s faster, leaner, and smarter than ever before, so we know this isn’t the problem. The problem comes when organizations try to create digital experiences without fully understanding for whom they’re creating them. The systems surrounding us are complex and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. When we take the time to gather the data and apply imagination to it, a path is suddenly cleared.
Getting this right isn’t just good for the user, it’s also great for business. As the Adobe 2018 Digital Trends report notes, organizations with a cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives are nearly twice as likely to have exceeded their top 2017 business goal by a significant margin (20% vs. 11%).
What imagination isn’t
Imagination can conjure some pretty out-there ideas in terms of daydreams, fantasy, and other playful musings–but that’s not what this is about. Instead, imagination brings meaning to your data. It starts by simply envisioning the thing that you’re trying to create while allowing the data to inform the entire process. As this happens, you begin to build a map of how things will look and determine where to go from there.
The best design-led projects rely heavily on data to build something effective. Without this crucial element, you’re just throwing darts in every direction hoping that eventually, something sticks. But no matter how comprehensive the data, imagination will always be the thing that sets you apart from your competitors.