Designing a Better User Experience for Do-it-Yourself Services

Cascade 2

In today’s economy, more and more of our transactions to purchase or use products and services are entirely self-service—they involve no interaction with a human being.  This workshop explores ways that we can make self-service applications and systems more effective, empowering users and giving them autonomy rather than frustration.

We will explore what kinds of self-service systems empower their users, and why—or why not. How are the issues that affect the user experience of self-service transactions different from UX issues for any product or service? How can we build better self-service experiences?

The goals of the collaboration session are to:

  • Identify and discuss methods and approaches for designing successful self-service applications
  • Explore how to measure success in self-service, considering impacts such as increased motivation, trust and self-confidence, improved perception of well-being, greater civic engagement and empowerment, etc.
  • Understand the diversity of usage patterns and people engaged in self-service

The evolution from traditional product and service delivery to digital self-service allows—or forces—the consumer or citizen to take a new role, which in turn requires that both the customer journey and the interactions be redesigned.

The primary benefit of self-service is that users gain more autonomy and power in the service relationship, and less dependency on the organization. However, the burden of getting things done is shifted to the weaker party: the customer. To what extent is shifting work to the consumer causing amateurs to spend large amounts of time so experts can save time—and how can UX professionals improve digital self-service?

This collaboration session will explore what kinds of self-service systems empower their users, and why—or why not. How are the issues that affect the user experience of self-service transactions different from user experience issues for any product or service? How can we build better self-service experiences?

We invite conference attendees to submit position papers that describe cases of self-service UX, including both design and research. We’ll ask each person to reflect on four issues:

  • Pre-design: user studies of context of use, users’ expectations of service, prior knowledge: approaches, methods, results?
  • Actual design: which cues were included for boosting the users’ sense of trust, privacy protection, confidence, empowerment?
  • Failure strategies: how can people escalate problems from the self-service situation to an interaction with human or organizational support?
  • Assessment of impact and quality of service: approaches, methods, results?

Session facilitators are Stephanie Rosenbaum from TecEd, Judith Ramey from the University of Washington, and Thea van der Geest from the University of Twente, all experts in design and research into self-service. They co-edited a special section on “UX of Self-Service Systems” for a 2013 issue of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.  Thea was Program Chair of the IEEE conference on Communication in a Self-Service Society which led to the journal publication; Stephanie and Judy were invited speakers at that conference.

Session Details

Session Type: 
Track: 
Level: 
Advanced