This article from the International Journal of Design, gives a great overview of factors systems designers ought to account for when developing web-based services consumers use to create or co-develop products. As more services migrate to the “cloud”, user experience design is paramount to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty.
As examples of creative-driven web services using “online configurator software”, the authors point to Timbuk2 and Chocri. It’s not an unreasonable premise that more and more of these types of web-service based companies will continue to proliferate, especially considering the future promise of social and mobile commerce. Thus, designing a user experience that’s satisfying is a key growth and loyalty building strategy for these types of brands. The authors point out nine factors that promote creativity (see Table 1 in the article):
- Challenging work: Step-by-step instructions with increasing challenge
- Autonomy: Tools that promote exploration
- Community support: Chat rooms or galleries of recent work
- Permission to take risks: Incorporating slogans that promote risk taking and having real-time help
- Goal setting: Incorporating a progress bar
- Positive effect: Use of positive images and colors
- Mastery experience: Allow direct manipulation of tools
- Sufficient resources: How-to sections and tutorials
- Encouragement: Consistently reinforce that users are capable of completing the task; use images and verbiage
In each of the nine sections outlined above, the authors provide further research and practical examples. And the researchers make one final, valid point: be transparent. Clearly indicate copyright and other intellectual property policies and explain these policies in plain language that the average consumer will understand. Transparency promotes trust and loyalty.
Photo credit: Bitterjug