Designing information architecture for customer contact channels
It is not uncommon for organisations to make substantial investments of funds and resources to create a channel for communication with its customers, which the latter eventually prove reluctant to use or which they use significantly less intensively than assumed. Optimal usability is the key make-or-break factor for that kind of tools. Its user-friendliness and ergonomics must be kept in mind already at the preparations for the project launch.
Obtaining the expected level of use of the communication channel designed may be impossible if there is no optimal design of the architecture of the information to be provided using that channel or without conducting prior user acceptance tests. Sometimes even the visual part of user experience turns out to be of critical importance.
After we have carefully considered the key assumptions of the Customer’s organisation and its expectations, we design the information architecture for the desired customer contact channel. In our work we remember about the requirement to ensure consistency of the information and the features between the individual customer contact or customer service channels.
Once we have completed the design work, a prototype of the information/service channel is built and subsequently tested by end users. The test staff evaluate all aspects of the communication/service channel’s operation we designed with the Customer: its usability, ergonomics and visual appearance.
Next, the tested prototype can be used as the basis to build and implement the channel in the production environment and make it accessible to its real-life end users.
The information architecture for the communication channel which we develop is consistent with the company’s assumptions regarding its customer communication and its corporate image. It also fits into the functional profile of the existing channels of contact and complies with the Customer’s strategic assumptions.
Last but not least, a channel of contact built based on the information architecture we have developed is optimised for its ease and comfort of use by its end users.
Depending on the scope agreed, our involvement usually produces the following deliverables:
- Functional assumptions for customer communication channel to be designed
- Information architecture for the communication channel
- Assumptions and usability test scripts for end user testing
- Report on usability tests performed on the communication channel