As you are reading this article, you probably have also received previous communication either by emails or through various social media channels regarding this proposed pilot project intended for the SMMEs communities within the developing economies. Although, I have consistently used the term “Interactive Mobile Web Platform” but it’s interesting to note that many that I have been interacting with still ask me to develop their websites. Well, to cut a long story short: I am not a web developer or programmer.
I am in research and innovation space focusing on user experience practice through the adoption of user research as an emerging discipline for the creation of the 21st-century economy. This initiative is driven by disruptive business models, which are best suited for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) within the developing economies. Please note that I prefer to use the term “developing economies” rather than using a well know and famous phrase “previously disadvantaged individuals or companies.”
The term “Interactive Mobile Web Platform” is driven by collaborative participation and community-oriented development to ensure a coordinated approach towards achieving the objectives for the SMMEs community. It is based on flexible, dynamic and responsive web design platforms including analytics engines, which serve as a business backbone for analysis, visualisation and the sharing of knowledge or experience with other key stakeholders. Therefore, this interaction is taking place in real time between a business owner and the customers over an Interactive Mobile Web Platform.
The key to this aspect is to hold the user experience consistently across various end user devices, which are deemed convenience from the customer’s perspective. In other words, the information from different Social Media channels is integrated seamlessly into an Interactive Mobile Web Platform and the business owners have a single view of how the users interact with the customer touch-points being implemented by the company.
To achieve a collaborative participation, community-oriented development and coordinated services that harness user experience practice to the SMMEs marketplace, small business owners should find a proper balance between managing individual social media channels, deploying traditional website design and the adoption of modern Interactive Mobile Web Platform. This includes resolving concerns on managing each social media channel at a time, traditional website design which is not mobile friendly and the requirements on the adoption of modern Interactive Mobile Web Platforms whilst creating evidence value based user experience – perceived by the users of the platform.
The following list of formulated questions gives more insight into the problems associated with managing each social media channel at a time, deployment of traditional website design, and meeting the requirements for the adoption of modern Interactive Mobile Web Platform.
- The key question is: Can a small business owner afford to spend the entire day managing all social media channels and response timeously to every customer’s need?
- How do you know as a business owner which channel is more important for your company: where are the leads getting more generated from various channels?
- What if I tell you that over 90% of customers today are using their smartphones to access information including online business or shopping: how would you position your business whilst maintaining the user experience across the various end user devices from different channels?
- As you might have already spent huge sums of money through consultation regarding customer segments and target market, how would you adapt to the modern Interactive Mobile Web Platform if it provides you with the fact profile around customer behaviour, demographics, and location of your key customers?
- After gaining this useful insight from all social media channels, integrated and available seamlessly to the modern Interactive Mobile Web Platform – full report analysis: How would a business owner position the company to the marketplace?
- The insights provided by analytics engine around customer behaviour might include a report on new, returning and unique customers from various channels, and as a business owner, how would you respond to this information? Which customer is more important to your business: new, returning and unique customers?
To address the above questions appropriately, the primary objective of this pilot project is to identify key factors that are hindering small business growth within the developing economies. The fundamental goal of User Research Institute is to understand the User Experience in a variety of industry sectors and environments, to provide research findings to the SMMEs community. Therefore, to excel in today’s radical digital transformation, there are four building blocks that must be adopted by SMMEs community, namely: Usability, Success, Excellence and Reliability.
Usability measures how effectively users can utilise an Interactive Mobile Web Platform to achieve their goals. By properly managing the customer touchpoints, the SMMEs business community can reduce expenditures while increasing the productivity and maximising profit margins. The purpose of Usability practice is to discover any missed requirements or any kind of development that was seen to be intuitive but ended up confusing unaccustomed users. By incorporating a prominent level of efficiency into usability testing, users can assess an Interactive Mobile Web Platform’s capacity to improve customer lifetime value (CLV) at lower costs.
Success in this context means an attempt in achieving superior competitive advantage to create more value for the usability aspect of an Interactive Mobile Web Platform. We are now living in a new world order defined by value creation as a measure of business success driven by higher productivity and reduced costs. The lack of adopting user experience design philosophy when bringing products to the marketplace is sometimes viewed as the reasons SMMEs are unable to sustain their businesses over a longer term. By embracing user research as a discipline, small businesses can charge a higher price for their products and services while reducing the service costs, and customer lifetime value.
Excellence means improving the understanding of how SMMEs successfully deploy new products through the adoption of user experience design philosophy. To achieve unparalleled user experience design excellence, collaboration is required between Researchers, Innovators, Designers, Developers, Engineers, Scientists, and experienced professionals to build a core foundation of success metrics to support user experience practice within the SMMEs business community.
Reliable business outcomes refer to the results and findings of user research sessions, which are impartial towards providing guidance to the SMMEs community. The game plan is a measure of the consistency of user research metrics and the deployment of preferred methodologies. User research metrics or methodologies used, including tools and techniques for uncovering usability problems over mobile web platform, must be assessed for reliability to validate user research results whilst eliminating erroneous sources of research findings and biases.
Although, the adoption of an Interactive Mobile Web Platform seems like an alternative option for the SMMEs and Startups at large to create sustainable business models whilst competing with well-established counterparts. However, not all small companies or startups are ready for the implementation of this modern way of growing businesses. The biggest challenge for the adoption of this platform lies on the requirements associated with its implementation. For instance, most business owners don’t have time available to discuss their own business requirements required to build the platform.
To build a successful platform, there is a lot of time required for collaboration between a business owner and user researcher. For this reason, most platforms failed to meet the requirements to address the needs of the SMME community. As a user researcher faced with this situation, I will, therefore, be left with no other option but to terminate the project until such time the requirements are met from both sides. The conditions for the release of an Interactive Mobile Web Platform to market is governed by the fundamental goals of User Research Institute – the compliance around: Usability, Success, Excellence and Reliability of the platform. If one of the building blocks is not met, the project is regarded as incomplete and therefore, it cannot be launched or released to the market since it won’t serve the purpose of an Interactive Mobile Web Platform.
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