During our presence week in London, we had the honour to spend two days at DigitasLBi. One of our sessions was with our host Christopher Lee Ball - the main topic: User experience. Together we tried to find out what’s now and what’s next.

Christopher Lee Ball is the Head of User Experience & ECD DigitasLBi London, a full service agency with 700 employees working on advertising projects. To be most efficient, they handle both classic and digital projects as well.

Christopher began working in Information Architecture in 2003 and later focused on User Experience. Since 5 years he is part of DigitasLBi

What is UX?

For many people User Experience (UX) is focused on digital devices. They don’t realize that UX is part of our allday lives.

Christopher Lee Ball: “All the brands start to be the same. But you have to stand out.”

Where did UX start?

Christopher took a nice reference regarding the first appearance of UX ever. Talking about the Wright brothers and their first attempt to build an airplane. Later on, more and more technical stuff was added to planes and dashboards in airplanes became more detailed. So it became harder for pilots to interact in the cockpit. The solution: making it easier to handle = improve the experience of the user.

Where are we now?

For Christopher agencies should focus on consultancy and change processes, to keep up with digital trends and disruption.

The only business chance is innovation.

“You have to embrace the change. > don’t miss it.” – Christopher Lee Ball

In Christopher’s opinion you have to think out of the box to be successful.
Also you have to be up to date, so you don’t miss the trends.

Adapt or die

As an example he mentioned Kodak. They have been market leader in photography covering 90% of the worldwide market share. Unfortunately they didn’t jump on the digital revolution train. Six years later they struggled with insolvency.

Another example looking into the future: Millennials are less and less interested in owning a car. So the automobile industry have to ask themselves: What will happen in ten years? They have to find a strategy to keep up on business in the future. Care sharing can become a very important part in the future – so they have to think of ways to include this idea in their business models (regarding apps, websites, content and so on).

Change includes thinking of new business models. Since 3D printing is becoming a bigger trend as we speak (or as you read this), the industry have to think of new ways to include this technology. Let’s imaging shopping interior in the future: Seeing an interesting table, ordering the pattern and going to a shop printing out your brand new table.

7 dimensions of user experience

Christopher defined seven dimensions of user experience, enterprises should put an eye on.

1. Time
You would like to be disruptive, than time is your most important factor.
A taxi company without owning their own cars – a few years ago nobody would have thought it could work. Uber has proven it can work (really well). The company breaks with all systems and with their unusual way of thinking, they got even more interesting for people. Including clever marketing campaigns, taxi drivers all over the world fear Uber as a competitor.

2. State
As a second dimension of user experience Christopher mentioned the “State”. His example for this point was Airbnb. The biggest hotel chain worldwide, without owning one hotel. The clue: Airbnb offers you to be in a host-mode or in a travel-mode so they actually know what you’re searching for.

3. Relevance
User would like to care. Your company, your offers and your ideas have to be relevant for them. So: Make it as relevant as you can.

Christopher talked about “National Trust”, an organisation opening many historic houses and gardens to the public. To make the user care, DigitasLBI created an app, including a map with the possibility to do a treasure hunt, to improve the experience for the whole family, especially for children.

4. Integration
Another point of being relevant is the integration of the user and their needs. You don’t know how to get from A to B? There are many apps in many countries, which navigate you to your destination. In Austria we’ve got “Quando”, in other cities you can use “Citymapper”. It includes many possibilities and gives you extra information like burned calories when walking.

5. Dialogue
We’re living in a social world – so it’s all about dialogues. Interaction gives apps, websites, etc. a personal touch. A company using this aspect pretty good is Mumsnet – a pregnancy diary-app, which is not only about mum to mum, it’s also about mum to her body. The app shows information about how you’re baby is developing. Beside that Mumsnet offers a really emotional aspect.

6. Play
People would like to be entertained. They love to play games. So gamification has become a main part of user experience. Brands tell their stories in fascinating gameplays.

7. Augmentation
The seventh dimension of user experience is augmentation. So, you think, only nerds handle with augmented reality and things like that? You’re wrong – augmentation is getting more and more mainstream.
Tylko did a really good job using that factor in it’s app. You can visualize how a piece of furniture looks in your own environment. Using your phone’s camera you can see how your new sofa fits in your living room.

What’s next?

Mobility will be a big part of the digital future, so apps will be more and more important.
A fun example foreseeing not only the future, but also part of our present is the movie “Minority Report”. Made in 2002 the story is based in 2054 and uses futuristic technology – you may think. Some of the things they use, are integrated in your lives in 2016 already.

“The future – is already here”. – Christopher Lee Ball

Here is an example, how advertising could look in the future:

literature/movie tips:

Don’t make me think – Steve Krug

Minority Report – 2002