What are the best ways to optimize your company’s products and web content to be accessed via mobile device in 2018? Although the issue of UX design Source: Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/en/office-freelancer-computer-business-620823/)[/caption] #1. Email Subject Lines: Keep Them Short & Focused Reading emails should not be a chore — whether you’re in the office or finishing up the day’s work on a plane. Time is precious for most of us, these days, so we all need clarity of focus and product messaging in order to be able to picture ourselves as a potential customer or client. But the future may not merely require us to simplify subject lines and appeal to a customer’s personal journey. It may expect superhuman intelligence and personalization, as well: according to Fast Co. Design’s Katharine Schwab, automation and AI may play a greater role in determining what kinds of emails you receive in the future “based on what kinds of emotional pleas work best on you.” Though this prospect may seem creepy, remember: you can always unsubscribe; and how is this kind of algorithm any different than, say, Spotify’s weekly customized playlist or Amazon’s “Suggested for You” page? Try to keep the idea of personalization in the forefront of your mind. Moving forward, it will become increasingly important to implement customer feedback and genuine, real interaction — in spite of the increasing digitalization of media and everyday life. This is because the more companies put a human face on their everyday interactions and mission statements — think Microsoft or Patagonia — the more they will appeal to customer emotions and ideals like hope, optimism, and freedom. These nebulous concepts can’t be easily quantified by data and email subject lines, but we can try to approximate them as much as possible. #2. UX Optimization: Interaction & Accessibility Are Key Considering that the number of mobile devices in use is projected to be over twelve billion by 2018, companies should, at the very least, ensure continuity between devices. While it’s still important to focus on the overall ease of use of the website in general, you also want to make sure the transition from mobile to desktop or tablet is seamless. Sarah Gibbons recently provided a cheat sheet of UX mapping methods that outlines the difference between empathy maps, customer journey maps, experience maps, and service blueprints. Gibbons points out necessary predecessors to the mapping process, as well as when to use different kinds of UX mapping — for example, before, during, or after the design process. The service blueprint is an interesting outlier to the conventional focus on customer-facing user experience. Being comprised of customer actions, frontstage actions, backstage actions, and support, it emphasizes the importance of organizational coordination and communication. #3. Mobile App Optimization: Maximize Efficiency for Smart Devices When it comes to user experience and accessibility, mobile apps are key — that is, as long as they don’t have any major pain points, in terms of usability or efficiency. Speed and function, therefore, are mandatory. The last thing your company wants is for its brand-new app to malfunction within the first week. Apps are also great for maximizing customer interaction, whether via downloads, chat bots, or accessible user interface. Also, in your overall web design, be sure to avoid excessive use of video or pop-up ads, graphics, or stock images in order to optimize user experience for your clients. All this talk of UX may allow us to forget the importance of a human touch in our company’s interactions with its customers and clients. As Ivo van Barneveld recently explained, “Language is the most natural interface humans understand.” As a result, conversational user interfaces like chat bots and smart home hubs with voice search commands are likely to become more common ways for customers to get in touch with all kinds of companies. #4. Cybersecurity: Keep All Business & Client Data Safe Whether accessed by “ethical hackers” or more innocent/accidental trespassers, data can easily be stolen under the correct circumstances. Especially if your company is based out of a sky-high building surrounded by other innovative companies in the tech industry, you’d better make sure every database and data file has multiple password barriers and is extremely difficult to access. Nowadays, since so much information is stored in the cloud, it helps to be just as careful with online storage as with internal data security. Cyber espionage, data theft, and unprecedented attacks are all important considerations for small and midsize businesses — despite some people incorrectly assume only multinational corporations will be targeted. Be sure to keep the mobile customer experience in mind, in 2018, when it comes to keeping data safe and maximizing user trust, as well. #5. Image Matters: Communication & Customer Feedback Data We all know that public brand image matters, but what about internal-facing communication and employee feedback? The more easily companies can retain their employees, the better a company’s return on investment in terms of performance, longevity, and money — not to mention social media shares. The current nature of social media and the digitally connected world means that people must watch what they do and say now more than ever. This includes workplace offices and company communication — whether that means doing a better job of employee recognition or making sure employees are given a good balance of feedback and guidance. Especially when considered from the millennial perspective, it’s crucial to take the employee feedback loop into consideration: as much as employee recognition emails have been utilized in the past, that kind of impersonal communication does not build trust. Rather, in-person coaching and meetings build rapport and allow for maximum participation and diversity of interaction. Companies should remain mindful of the ubiquitous presence of social media and sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, which rate companies based on people’s opinions of the CEO, management style, and advancement opportunities. For now, the human brain is still much more complex than any Twitterbot or chatbot. Until then, it’s best practice to focus on customer feedback, interactive site content, and accessible user applications to maximize every employee’s user experience — whether at home or in the office.