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User Delight and Emerging Tech

The advantages of delighting customers is now well known in the design community. Championed by thought leaders in our field for decades, user/customer delight has become a pillar of good UX.

But we’ve got a constant, and fun, challenge ahead of us. As Jared Spool rightly called out in this talk, what delights today becomes a basic expectation tomorrow.

When an industry catches on to something that was once a differentiating feature and distributes it across all experiences and options (Wifi in coffee shops, for example) it becomes what’s often referred to as “table stakes,” or just something you need to compete. And if you don’t have it, it only leads to disappointment and probably lower revenue.

One strategy for addressing this is to continue delivering delight to your customers by being an early adopter and experimenter with technology.

You can flex your empathy and combine it with curiosity and exploration of emerging tech to come up with novel ways to apply that tech for your customers and blow their freakin’ minds.

I think this is what makes design really exciting right now. There’s so much happening and so much work being done by the tech community, and designers only need to step into that world and see how it relates to customer problems. It’s almost like walking around and picking up diamonds lying there on the ground.

So, with just some empathy and curiosity you can quickly progress down the path of finding new ways to delight your customers. Sounds super easy, huh?

It really kinda is, but here are a few places where you may feel some friction.

Where You’ll Feel Resistance and How To Overcome It

  • Time: You’re going to have to invest time outside of work hours. Hopefully you enjoy learning about new technology, if not, learn to enjoy learning about it. Go to Meetups about AI, spend some time reading tech blogs, invite the nerdiest developer you know over for dinner. Trust me, it’s all time you’ll treasure, and your eyes will be opened in amazing ways.
  • Money: Being an early adopter of technology is going to cost you some cash. Consider it an educational expense. If you don’t like something, you can almost always sell it. Think of the difference between what you paid and what you recover an investment in learning.
  • Staying Persistent: Once you get going on this and start learning, it’s tempting to sit back and coast for a bit. Don’t! That exactly the point you should keep pushing, and it’s probably the point you’re bumping up against the boundaries of what you know. That means the next discoveries will be what you don’t know you don’t know. And that’s a valuable place to be my friends! Set a schedule and make spending time and money on emerging tech a regular part of your life and it’ll help you stay persistent and consistent with your explorations.

Final Thoughts

While your competitors are out there wringing their hands and trying to be novel with the same old things, you can quantum leap towards delighting your customers in new ways by discovering and finding ways to implement emerging technologies.

The investment is incredibly minor compared to the massive upside both personally and professionally. You really can’t lose here. Even if you don’t immediately discover a delightful solution for your customers, you will have at least grown as a person and hopefully made some new friends along the way.

So get out there and start discovering!


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