Part3: Interactivity makes all the difference in your business model

Interface, Product

Don’t believe when people tell you they were still looking for the next killer app! It is already here and rewarding your business more than ever. Neither accessibility nor connectivity enables you to engage people. Think about school directories, you can make it accessible from anywhere, and you can connect everyone to each other. But Facebook did not take off until Zuckerberg added the Interactivity part in play.

That is the last part of the three part series for remarkable web application design. These three, accessibility (from any device), connectivity (social, personal) and interactivity are the main differentiators of any digital business. Not any of these are new, what’s new is that Internet enables all these at a cost of almost zero to anyone with some knowledge about web technologies. and whoever uses them to the full scale in their online business model are rewarded with attention (most expensive of all), word of mouth and billions of dollars in valuations (at least for the few).

Interactivity can be broken into three groups;

  • Social Interactions – Four Square is a great example of social interactions, allowing users to engage (check in), the application to appeal identities (mayor), personal interest (points, rewards, offers). It is not just the social networks now that are using the social interactions but also companies like Groupon who wants to engage its users to increase lifetime and value. Loyalty programs, reward programs (significant difference between these two) are all a great opportunity for social interactions if you dare. Here is a great source for social interactions patterns.
  • Value Interactions – Progressive has an excellent widget – Name your price -. It is a great example for value interactions, where the user can get great value thanks to the interaction (either price, or the information looking for, or just a customization for the service). McKinsey website is also great in terms of value interactions by providing interactive info graphics to let user navigate very easily through complex research or survey results. Below is a screenshot what we call ‘Savings Simulator’ for Tel3. What we were able to do with this widget was to avoid the price war and let our customers focus on the value of the service (by adding the value of some features) so they can compare better:

Savings Simulator by TEL3

  • Personal InteractionsThis is not unique to digital businesses but I have to mention it here because it is mostly ignored. Still, regardless of your technology, your value to the users, at the end, it all comes down to the moment of truth. This is especially true for service companies. When a customer has a problem with your service, it is the businesses responsibility to create an environment and experience for their customers to solve their issue with one to one personal interaction. It requires the technology of course, to have live chat, email, phone, forums, knowledgebase maybe even as part of your application, but it also requires training and a culture for your customer representatives, the attitude and the problem solving skills make all the difference.

More on interaction design.

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