Experience Management Platforms - what’s it all about?

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Bringing your desired experience to life for your customers requires a deep understanding of your customer base, how they perceive your brand, and what they expect.

Making this happen will not occur overnight. The challenge lies in bringing the experience to life, in design and on the experience management platform itself.

This means designers and engineers must align from the get-go on what the best experience will look like which can be implemented on any given platform.

Why is this?
Gone are the days when you designed a webpage that required a technical expert to manage it. There’s been an explosion of experience management platforms, take Adobe AEM or Episerve.

These platforms offer business friendly capabilities without needing a technical expert to run them day-to-day. This means they’re a great way to manage customer experiences across all channels and devices by a centralised team, usually marketing. However, this means that the platform needs to both look good and work well. Tension between the vision for design and technological implementation needs to be eradicated.

What’s the problem?
Modern day design is complicated because customer expectations have evolved drastically, and the liquid expectation that comes with great experiences puts pressure on businesses is slower to react.

At the same time, experience management platforms are still evolving. No single platform is equipped with everything a business needs to keep up with changing customer needs and expectations. The reality is, most businesses struggle with implementation because the vision for design is not supported by the platform.

Experience designers (in the broader sense) don’t know enough about the platform capabilities and they aren’t involved with the on-going management, usually a marketing team.

Practitioners are more focused on achieving the best possible experience, this means they forget functional aspects of the end-to-end omnichannel experience.

Unfortunately, this often results in an impasse between design and technical teams who implement experiences. This impacts the schedule and cost in the short-term. In the longer term it may mean businesses do not make the return they expected.

You need to bridge the gap between what is designed, what it does when its implemented and what you want it to do with/on any given platform. This comes from working as a team across any design lifecycle.

For me, there’s two things you need to address to promote success:

  • Mapping the design into a manageable experience with the platform of choice.
  • Forming a shared vision of what good looks like.
  • Checking that it works early on — from a functional and users’ perspective.
  • Being prepared to continuously innovate on the experience you’ve defined.

While it’s unfair to expect designers to know end-to-end platform capabilities in full, an understanding of basic functionalities is a must. Few basic platform features where working knowledge comes in handy, are:

  • Supported design structure
  • Supported content types
  • Pre-built widgets (all modern platforms come pre-built with widgets, that can be used as is, and components like sliders, carousels, commerce banners etc.)
  • Responsive rendering of content
  • Template management
  • Content personalisation
  • HTML/CSS Flexibility

Leveraging basic knowledge means designers can define an experience which the technical team can create with out-of-the-box platform capabilities as far as possible. This limits customisation effort to critical functionalities and moments which provide customer delight.

If majority of the experience is implemented leveraging native features, marketers will feel empowered to manage the experience on an ongoing basis. This can also bring marketing and end-to-end partners closer together building relationships and saving future frustration.

The key to success is in continuous collaboration between the experience and technical teams right from the get-go. It will help you to review and correct your course early on rather than pushing the technical review at the end.

Consider your team and partners, find someone who can work end-to-end on the experience as a whole.

With the right platform know-how experience designers can create designs that work with and not against the platform because they’re part of one team with a shared vision not only for design but implementation.

Recreational Runner, Learner & Seeker, Leader, Mentor, Speaker, Strategy, Innovation & enterprise mobility.

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