The user experience that is designed, should ideally match the usage pattern. Different products and services will have different levels of usage at different times. It’s important to remember that usage is contextual, not constant. What users do on a train will be different to what they do at work and at home, and that many users will also be using multiple devices at the same time.
Designers should consider the entire user experience journey. It’s not just about the experience that a person has with a brand upon making a purchase or during the purchasing session. It commences at the very first touchpoint when a person may see an advert or hear a friend’s recommendation. It also does not end once a person has left the store, but can continue for years.
The intensity of cadence will also vary across products and interfaces. When the app on my iphone pings me to tell me that I haven’t logged my daily calorie intake in over 6 days that is cadence. When my Nike fuelband indicates that I haven’t moved enough in the last 2 hours that is cadence. And when I receive an email to remind me to renew my car insurance that is cadence.
Designing for cadence also needs to consider content creation. Creating interesting and useful content is not a simple task. It needs dedicated resources and clever individuals. Delivering the rich content that users will value and the right amount is key. If its not done right, it can annoy users by taking up too much of their time. Consider how many other alerts and messages a person may be receiving from other sources.
Cadence however is much more than bit of proactive marketing that pings you with reminders and sends you emails. It goes much deeper than that. For me it’s about having an insightful awareness of your users. It’s about truly understanding your users through research; by mapping usage patterns, analysing daily routines, considering your target audience life stage, lifestyle, demographics, psychographics, technographics and understanding what they need and want.
For your products and services to become part of their lives you need to understand your user deeply, so that they choose to adopt your product to be part of their life.
The experience you create, needs to match their usage patterns.
So how should you consider cadence in your next project?
It’s quite simple, know your users. If you don’t know who you are designing for, how will ever understand the customer journey or the routines they have? how will you map the experiences they have and understand their motivations? and how will you ever design things that will become part of their routine and part of their life?
As brand owners, you need to ensure your budget includes design research to better understand the target market that you want to attract and attain, for days, months and years to come.
As experience designers, you can include some of the following ethnographic research methods:
- User experience journeys
- Routine maps
- Analyse touchpoints
- Contextual interviews
- Diary studies
- Usage and traffic logs: Analyse frequency visits and where they are coming from.
- Know your target markets demographics, psychographics, technographics.
- Life stage analysis
- Interests graphs: the online representation of the things individuals like to do online.
As Michelle Berryman nicely put it “ Design the moment, know when the next moment will be”.