Contextual awareness is like dating multiple people at the same time
The title needs a bit of an explanation because the term contextual awareness may not mean anything to you. In this article I will explain to you what contextual awareness means, how it relates to my metaphor and how you can use it to enhance your visitors (commonly referred to as users) experience.
The fundamentals of contextual awareness revolves around collecting accurate visitor data and translating it to relevant information. If applied properly this enables you to build upon your users experience giving them a way to find what they’re looking for even when they’re not asking for it. Take Google Now for example; it uses your location and compares it to your daily routine. If it recognizes a pattern it will provide you with relevant travel information like transit times and delays.
Knowing what kind of information you are able to collect from your visitors gives you a vast advantage. Imagine the following situation: Your potential customer is visiting your website for the first time. He repeatedly looks at a certain product or piece of information. Knowing this, creates the opportunity to adapt the content of the website to his needs. For instance; generating a customised discount or landing page.
Let’s create a hypothesis in which we take on two roles. First we’ll play Dave, a handsome tall man looking for a User Experience agency. Second we’ll play Selina, the seductive piece of code that’s trying to lure men like Dave in. In both scenario’s we’ll act as if they’re human.
Generally speaking I’m not one easily affected by flirtatious behaviour, but what happened last night was insane. In fact, I may have found the love of my life. Things were just spot on. You see, I was just hanging out in my study. Which is a common thing I do after work because I’m starting up my own business. At one point I got tired of browsing and writing so I decided to do some hardcore Facebooking. I mean, the hardcore kind of variant where you end up watching thirty cat videos. But last night was different. Somehow I was scrolling my way down timeline alley where at some point I got struck by something so clear, so beautiful and intriguing that I just had to click on it.
She told me I could leave part of my business in her hands. She’s able to measure the emotional states of online visitors and create an overview in some sort of personalised dashboard. Just for me, based on my visitors. It’s like she knew exactly what I wanted, she even guessed my name right from the start. Our conversation continued with her complimenting my achievements, when she said my business will stand out from the crowd I believed she actually meant it. As the night progressed she offered to take things to the next level. I couldn’t agree more and decided to go with her.
She took me to her place and we both got comfortable on the couch. She clearly has my style; bold but respectful and very open minded. She told me that if I paid her $20 a month I could even plug her features on as many platforms as I’d like.
I think I’m in love with her, she’s everything I could ever ask for. I decided to accept the offer and see her again tomorrow. Perhaps even the days after.
Let’s just say I’m not one for monogamy. But Dave should know that. I’m rather honest and open about it. I do really care about him though. That’s why I adapt to all his needs. For example; 3 weeks ago he visited a online seminar for digital startups. Last week he Googled “how to empathise with your online audience” at least 4 times and he checked his Facebook about 7 times a day of which he spend 64% on watching cat videos.
Easy enough. I figured that if I showed up between 09:00 and 10:00 PM as an introduction of his favourite cat video I would draw his attention. I told him there’s a tool out there which shows you the emotional states of your online audience in a clear overview, somewhat like a dashboard. You should have seen his face when I knew his name is Dave, I think that’s the moment he knew he was in good hands. It didn’t take him long to click on me and follow me home.
I made him comfortable by showing him how the tool exactly works and offered him a fair price because I know he’s just starting up his business. $20 seemed reasonable to him, even though I also had a cheaper option. But I already knew Dave is gullible for additional features.
Our talk went exactly as we both wanted it to go. I gathered his information, generated a product based on his needs and adapted the price to his financial capabilities. He’ll be visiting me again tomorrow. And the days after.
So to round things up: Selina seemed like a beautiful opportunity just for Dave. But she’s actually a beautiful opportunity for anyone. She adapts to any person she meets and has the ability to offer them relevant information based on their needs. In Dave’s case; searching for information on Google and attending an online seminar. Because of this Selina was able to take those pieces of information and find a pattern. This way she was able to find out that Dave was looking for a User Experience company with a keen eye on tracking user emotions.
Contextual awareness is more than showing information based on someone's location. It’s collecting all the information someone leaves behind and recognizing patterns in the data. By using those insights you can create content that is based on your visitors needs and wishes. Usually resulting in happier customers and increasing conversion rates.
Are you already using contextual awareness? And if so, how do you put it to use?