WOwww! Mon coup de coeur au Forrester Customer Experience Forum!
Ma conclusion de la conférence en une phrase, est que les meilleurs ‘talks’, que ce soit à Montréal, NYC ou anywhere, sont ceux qui racontent du vécu, avec des éléments simples et concrets dont l’audience peut mesurer l’importance…et tout le reste, en gros, c’est du speech de vente d’entreprises, ou du discours d’experts qui se congratulent sur des panels, et sur cette base d’expertise reconnue et invitée, n’ont plus rien à prouver et ne font que partager leurs opinions respectives souvent totalement injustifiées et non appuyées d’aucunes sources ou données…ça fait cher la conférence pour cette partie là, mais un seul talk comme celui de Martin Nisenholtz vaut le déplacement et tout le reste!
Ma conclusion de cette étude de cas, n’est pas nouvelle, mais elle renforce toute ma démarche et compréhension de l’ergonomie du web depuis plusieurs années, cette même compréhension du Web qui m’a amené au doctorat en marketing électronique à HEC Montréal…c’est à dire le fait que l’ergonomie d’interface seule ne fait pas le succès d’une expérience en ligne, jamais, c’est la combinaison d’innovations en UX et au niveau du business model qui est fondamentale et cruciale, car l’innovation en UX est au service tactique de l’innovation stratégique au niveau du modèle d’affaires, et les deux se complètent parfaitement lorsque tous les stakeholders de l’organisation entretiennent cette vision des choses…et c’est rare!
Avis aux intéréssés!
Directly typed from the talk so please forgive the English…
The NY Times Online experience case study by Martin A. Nisenholtz, Senior VP, Digital Operations at the NY Times Company.
Talk Outline: What NYTimes.com did is combining customer experience innovation with business model innovation
Introduction on Web journalism
At first for the positioning of the site the main issue was a brand issue. New name online? New signature online?
At the time, the sister paper site Boston.com had changed their brand and signature online and we observed them going: wrong model
So we decided to take the opposite view at the NYT: a brand elastic approach to reflect the essential ‘timesness’ of the NYTimes brand and maintained the signature online just like the paper version with our special typography B on W.
But the 1st version of NYT online clearly considered Internet as a distribution channel only, at the time online meant another weaker version of the paper but accessible online.
It had the advantage to orient us in a platform agnostic strategy which helped us through the rapid evolutions of the Web.
At the time, it was text driven mainly since most people accessed it via dial-up services with narrowband and limited screen resolution, and so navigation took up the 2/3rd of the screen, and you had the with or w/o graphics options.
If we fast forward 14 years from then, the NYTimes is still with its special typography B. on W. of the paper signature but it has tremendously evolved, meaning freedom of expression as our central piece of value proposition is still there but using richer media benefiting from larger band capacity. For instance, the home page can offer a huge centered article with an interactive graphical map of the world as main access to the data: showing immigration paths to America and all the related stories we are offering on this historical topic.
For the NYTimes, people are important. Not just our audience.
Times People is an application we have put up which allows to import friends to the site.
It is our tip of the iceberg actually for our strategy since users must authenticate at their various degrees of contributions. We have come to the brutal conclusion and fact truth that anonymous contributions are always the worse (the most racist and so on), so we made authentication a central piece of our site’s content architecture, for we believe it is very important to ensure for quality contributions from experts and people in general.
Storytelling technique as old as humans exist to tell stories in new ways
People telling their stories: Nicholas Yarris: exonerated. Freed, and what happened then convicted for rape wrongly
Obama’s speech in Irak w/ special parts exerted, videos, user reactions/commentaries, how many people responded to the speech in Bagdad, and other locations
On top of UX innovations there is a need Business model innovation
Remember that even if we are a newspaper, when it comes down to business issues: our core business is advertising.
Whether users pay or not ofr how we call it: newspapers online will rely on advertising dependent model for sure.
The Mac advertising campaign : someone in the top banner speaks to someone in the right column as it is stretched to the right by the person walking and talking…to the guy in the top banner…very successful! People want to click on the sound right away, and even though it is very intrusive, all the fun and wit of the original TV commercial is ther maintained on the Web, so people enjoy it and we make sure it is presented in limited number per month (enjoyment is negatively related to frequency issues).
The idea is that even if we offer a free product, it must work for our advertisers… and we enjoy big brands launches on our home page from that kind of thinking.
Article pages are very important as well. People don’t always land on our home page, they can arrive from search, emails, logs…
Example of the article page car driver inspirations advertisement, with pages which you can flip like an auto brochure, the automotive metaphor of the reader being put in the driving seat, to make the user feel he is in control of his experience. This ad takes up to 2/3 of the right pan column, but it works. Commodified ad locations on web pages have simply killed interest and they must be progressively replaced by innovative new ways of presenting advertisements and attract people’s attention again.
Questions from Forrester’s analysts and the audience
In response to the newspapers crisis and how does NYT feel
At the beginning, the Web was very non commercial
And first advertising was very cautious, and then it became too cluttered
Now advertising is more spaced and clean, special ads using rich media which are very intrusive are now controlled for frequency impressions, but these are the basic same rules good advertising have always used to attract users as advertising has always did. The mistake was to forget them as we started implementing advertising online, as if other rules would apply with the new medium.
Q: Twitter news and newspapers news: what is the relationship?
Twitter is definitely the largest real time news feeder.
We have used RSS for a long time to syndicate our content since our website updated every 10 mn but breaking news is not the value proposition of the NYT, ours is more based on serendipity.
A DNA evidence based news for instance are stories that take months of research.
People would never think they would be interested in the topic before it is offered to them and that form of real life education they like, we surprise them and that’s what they like and expect
That’s an instance expression of a great journalistic institution that will not be replaced by Twitter, we are close partners but they will not replace us
Q: Paid model vs advertising model: NYTimes preference and position?
Whatever we call it, it is an advertising model in a sense
Customers were not ready to pay for the online experience we could offer so far no matter what we needed
I believe we will reach a point where people will be ready to pay for the online experience we will be able to offer
Q: What about the mobile channel?
Mobile is actually anything from iphones to kindle
Mobile offers a better opportunity ofr paid content
For practical aspects:1) no advertising model established yet so it allows for subscriptions for these products because for every year is the year of the mobile advertising for 4 years…
NYTimes Iphone app: most downloaded app in the app store
Only design perspective: to make it very usable, very simple, very useful
The Iphone different from the Kindle which is built for books, it is wonderful for the kind of linearity reading books offer, but it is very hard to shrink the wide newspapers format into that platform screen.
Newspeople: app to share news across the Web with their network friends, will never be the next FB but perfect for our needs and customers seem to use and love that
Audience thought more in psychographics terms: value of education (life long learning), travel, etc…values that support true life long customers value
Most important UX techniques for the NYTimes.com: newsreaders personas based on interviews and usability testing.
Je remercie la Chaire de commerce électronique RBC Groupe Financier pour son soutien financier pour la participation à cette conférence.