That package that arrives at your door within two days after ordering it online, the ease of ordering delivery from any restaurant and receiving it contact-free at your doorsteps or the coffee apps that allow you to order ahead. These are all examples of user experience, or UX, that make our lives easier. The creators were able to isolate a pain point and find a solution to it.
What exactly is user experience?
User experience is any interaction that the user has with a product or service. This can include thoughts, feelings and emotions while using a product or service.
User experience design is the process of designing a product or service with the user in mind. It’s using empathy to put yourself in the user’s shoes to see how they would interact with your product or service- what is that experience like for your target user? What isn’t working that needs to be fixed? Where does the user lose attention and put the product down or stop engaging with the service? UX design takes creativity, curiosity and an analytical mind.
What’s the difference between customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX)?
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, The World Leaders in Research-Based User Experience, CX can be described as the totality of interactions that the user has with an organization or brand over time- not just a single product or service. CX is a broader term that encompasses UX. Whereas, UX is more about the design of the services and products that solve a certain problem or accomplish a certain goal for the target user.
As mentioned above, user design requires empathy to understand the user and how they feel when they interact with a product or service. The designer must understand the needs and objectives of the user to target those pain points. Well executed UX requires research, strategy and planning in order to accomplish the goals an organization may have.
User experience and customer experience are fairly new concepts, especially within the senior living industry. In most cases currently, when a senior and their family begin to look for senior living solutions, it isn’t a one-stop shop. They take a long, clunky journey to find the best place that meets their needs and this journey includes multiple phone calls, numerous emails, weekly visits and more. Because there isn’t a single place for them to go to find the perfect community, their journey becomes fragmented. They have many different touchpoints with multiple communities throughout the whole journey.
More and more communities are learning that UX helps them more proactively find new leads. When they make it easier for those trying to navigate senior living to find answers, those same individuals often return for more information and engage further with their brand. Designing with UX in mind can be the main difference for a residence who chooses one community over another. Why leave these experiences and interactions to chance when they can be thoughtfully designed?
Here are some touchpoints where a senior and their family might interact with your community: Is the website easy to read? Are they able to quickly find the most important information to them like floorplans and pricing? Is there a clear place where contact information is displayed? What is the response time when a prospective new resident sends an email to the community? Is it days before they hear from someone? When they call into your community only to be transferred to voicemail, do they hang up and call back? Or if they leave a message, how long does it take before someone returns their call? When they come in for a visit, what is that experience like? Are they properly prepared so their expectations are managed when they get there?
These touchpoints and interactions might be interpreted by the customer as they same type of care a loved one will receive if they live there. If a prospective lead calls a community to learn more, but no one picks up the phone and no one calls them back- that could be interpreted as an uncaring or nonattentive place to live. If calls and emails are answered quickly, it can give the impression that every resident is attentively cared for.
Chris Bernard, UX Executive for CDK Global says that “the (senior living) industry has to experiment” and be able to translate the digital experiences to the physical experiences. “The key thing to do is experiment and figure out where people are captivated and what motivates them.”
UX design is a forward-thinking movement putting the user first. Senior living communities that put seniors and families first long before they ever set foot into their community can create a more seamless journey for potential residents. Elevating their user experience with your community will only elevate the industry as a whole showing aging adults and their families that we are truly in this business for the right reason: to provide quality care to seniors.