The experience alphabet: AX comes before UX

Posted 3/28/2011 by Rick Yagodich
User experience (UX) is a cornerstone of business. It is a term bandied about with impunity within the web arena, but must apply to all touch points between the organisation and the customer. If we fail to pay attention to how our customers interact with us – if we fail to make the relationship enjoyable and productive for them – they will forgo the chore of dealing with us in favour of the competitor who panders to their emotional needs. Ergo, lost loyalty and stagnant business (and that’s the rosy prognosis).

How do your clients interact with you? Who are you making life easy for? Which audience are your communications directed at? Are you talking to the people you are doing business with, or trying to reinforce your internal policies and principles?

"Publishing content that is self-absorbed in substance or style alienates readers. Most successful organizations have realized this,…" The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane (A Book Apart, 2011)

Clearly, to make your customers – your users – feel at ease when dealing with you, and thereby provide a positive emotional experience, resulting in goodwill, you must focus on the user experience.

There is one catch; this can best be described from a web perspective. We devise content strategies to provide process and governance in how we wish to communicate with our customers. We create words and imagery that engage our users. We put in place policies that ensure the content our authors create is optimised for user experience.

Confusion

But someone forgot… authors are users, too. A different type, but users nonetheless. What about their experience?

If we fail to make it easy for our authors (or customer service people, or any other staff who facilitate our customer touch points) to provide the engagement mandated for those interactions with the customer, they will behave as any other user. They will avoid the chore of dealing with us.

So, before we get to good UX, we must get through the rest of the alphabet; and that starts at A: the Author Experience (AX).
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