Friday, 31 October 2014

Why Currys made me think about the UX of our services

Sitting on the bus the other day, I picked up a copy of the free newspaper - the Metro. The outermost pages were an advert for the electrical retailer, Currys. It was a really nice ad; one that I took back to the office to share with the team.

Currys have changed tack, clearly. I'm not surprised, given the challenges that bricks and mortar electrical retailers have faced in recent years, as so many purchases are now done online. They're marketing the in-person buying experience: It's not about the technology, it's about what the technology means to you.
"This is not a toaster, this is a hot breakfast in 3 minutes."
Part of the Currys newspaper advert, showing the toaster - "This is not a toaster, it's..."
Part of the Currys advert from the Metro newspaper

It's an interesting approach. I wonder whether it will pay off.

The Currys "We Start With You" TV ad

What it certainly did for me was prompt a challenge my colleagues using their phrasing structure - "This is not a..."

I pinned the ad on the wall in our kitchen, along with some sheets containing our website service personas and blank speech bubbles. I'm interested in what the team think our Content Management System, our events, our training and support services are to our customers.

A couple of minutes' thought while the kettle boils is enabling us to share our thoughts and perceptions of what we're here for and what our customers across the University want from us.

The newspaper advert for Currys, pinned to our office kitchen wall
I challenged colleagues to express our services in the form: "This is not a..."

I took this story to our last meet up of web publishers from  across the University to challenge others to think like this. As with most user research activities, it's so simple but so fundamental.

Sharing our perceptions of our customers helps us all to hone a shared view of what we're doing and why. This is something that is so easily forgotten in the day-to-day hectic rush of running internal services.

Slides from the University of Edinburgh Web Publishers Community session - "This is not a..." (Log in required)

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