Core Components of Digital Experience – Content, Context, Curation (3Cs)
The digital divide is closing in quicker than ever. The pace of digital innovation is greatly accelerating and the ability to access information anywhere, anytime, and in any form is increasing the appetite even more. We are becoming an increasingly digitally-influenced culture for our everyday needs of commerce, entertainment, health care, wellness, personal finance, social interactions, food etc.
The question then becomes: How do you build experiences that could provide meaningful engagement in a fast-paced, changing digital environment? The three most important aspects of a digital experiences are relevant content, understanding the context to serve the content, and curating an experience that delivers the content with a context.
Informational and influencing content is critical to be visible in the digital world. Content can be generated in various ways. Depending on the industry and topic, the right incentives and drivers are necessary to be able to generate content that is unique and engaging. Content can be created directly as a first party source, by collaborating with multiple parties, by inviting participants to react/enhance , by doing mashups from various sources, and so on and so forth.
As the content is generated and managed, it is also important to modularize the content, categorize the content and store it with a flexibility to digitally serve in various formats (text, image etc.). Content, categorization and content meaning matters within the context of the platform. For example product ratings with a scale (1-5) in e-commerce and Facebook likes could be used in different ways. The number of likes for a nice picture of a dinner plate, kids with puppy eyes, or a comment about the relentless northeastern United States winter have different meanings. For a publishing business, news content needs to be written and captured very modularly to be able to cater to many types of readers in various mediums.
The good and bad news is that with technology advancements we can easily digitally understand the context in which content is delivered .
When an e-commerce company delivers an offer, it is much easier these days to know the weather, the user’s depth of the relationship with the brand,the physical location where the content is consumed (of-course with opt-in), and more. A Texas-based innovative full-service tech agency recently tested weather-based offers for a large convenience store chain offering Slurpee(s), coffee or umbrellas depending on the time and place. This campaign was a great success and is an example of how context can be used – this will matter more and more.
Think about the embedded videos in the Facebook newsfeed; as you scroll through the content and when you pause at a video content, it starts playing automatically without any other additional effort from the user. It is all about context. As data models evolve and become more and more meaningful insights are derived and contextual delivery of the content becomes easier.
Data proliferation and types of devices (watches, bangles, eye wear, auto display etc.) are about to explode thanks to the high-speed internet evolution that is also aiding the acceleration.
Recently I participated in a panel moderated by a dynamic CEO who took audience questions in his smart watch that were tweeted with the event hashtag. Delivering this type of content real-time on a smart watch will come down to identifying the most effective way to curate the content, and to present in the most consumable way that could be scrolled with minimal gestures and one/two buttons in the watch.
The UX world is still evolving ways to deliver effective content in a smart phone device (LinkedIn changed their app navigation thrice already). The discussion of whether responsive/adaptive design is a solution to solve content display between desktop, tablet and smart phone is still nascent. It is also clear based on learnings from the smart phone world, that creating curated experience for the medium really pays off.
Understanding user needs at the time of consumption, and curating the right experience is critical to engage the user. Showing the top unpaid bills in a banking application or showing active trades with actionable buttons is more important for those needs in a smart phone. Now think about curating those same alerts for a smart watch.
There are several other underlying enablers including data platforms, content delivery networks etc. to develop the best experience. All of these lead to delivering the right content, with the right context, in the most curated form that can be consumed and acted on.