Smartphone photographs iceberg in sea

Intuitive user guidance – The tip of the iceberg

Technical devices are widespread all over the world and it is impossible to imagine life without them. The markets for IoT (Internet of Things) and smart homes in particular are growing rapidly. This leads to countless service cases in all kinds of situations and sectors.

Nowadays, it is no longer enough to develop and refine a good concept to solve a specific service case. Instead, it is equally important to communicate the values and ideas behind the solution and the company, thus communicating the product concept to the customer and creating a bond.

Especially with self-service applications, the inclusion of customers and their needs is essential. But how do self-service solutions manage the balancing act between appropriate problem analysis and solution with sufficient technical depth on the one hand and a good customer experience on the other?


Intuitive user guidance – the way to success

The answer to this question is intelligent, guided and intuitive user guidance. No matter how complex an application or product is, the concept of the user interface determines whether it is also complicated to handle or whether complexity is not even apparent through intuitive user guidance. It can be seen as a key element between the users and the application and is therefore crucial for the success of the solution.

When considering self-service products for solving technical problem cases, the user guidance becomes even more important, as the application must convey highly complex technical information and yet be intuitive for everyone to use without additional help.

With a self-service solution, users can solve complex problems themselves – without in-depth technical knowledge. You only have to deal with a small, visible part of the whole application – the tip of the iceberg – while the technical part remains hidden. The user interface (UI) acts as an instruction manual for the customer’s problem and guides them through the process of problem solving and other use cases.

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The right medium is the key

Choosing the right medium for presenting the guidance is crucial to ensure intuitive guidance. Focusing on one medium can be very helpful in keeping things simple and ensuring that the user experience (UX) remains consistent and intuitive. The chosen medium should therefore ensure continuity and provide a single point of contact for users.

The first platform that comes to mind when thinking of digital support services are websites – classic, universal and accessible to almost everyone. But as many advantages as websites have, there is also a crucial disadvantage: websites limit access to necessary information about the situation (e.g. communication with network devices), so that a self-service application cannot realise its full potential and thus cannot fully react to the given situation.

For this reason, it is worth considering the smartphone as a medium for the self-service solution. In 2020, more than 60 million people in Germany will use a smartphone – and the trend is rising.¹ Moreover, a smartphone app already contains many style elements that everyone is familiar with: swipe and slide functions, menus, scroll bars and so on. These can differ between operating systems, which is why Android and iOS, for example, must be considered separately. Nevertheless, smartphone apps are the most versatile medium for implementing a self-service solution.


Intuitive user guidance and smartphone as medium


Optimising the self-service solution

To achieve sufficient front-end communication, the user experience of a self-service solution must translate the steps of the application into understandable and executable steps for the users. With the user’s input or background measurements, the steps are adapted to their specific situation, helping them to solve the problem efficiently – a function that would normally only be possible through contact with technicians or support staff. Unlike the usual FAQs and online guides that may not contain the information for the specific problem, a self-service app can deliver the solution instantly, tailored and intuitively.

By using a self-service app that provides important information about the user’s individual technical circumstances, users receive a solution guide that fits their individual background and thus offers numerous advantages over traditional support services.


Intuitive user guidance using the example of router setup

Illustration: Setting up the router can be this intuitive.


What makes for intuitive user guidance?

Intuitive user experience is much more than just a nice experience or a fancy design for the users. But what are the core elements of good user guidance?


Universality – accessibility for all

Intuitive user guidance is designed to ensure universal usability and technical efficiency. There is no room here for highly technical terms and incomprehensible operating instructions. A self-service solution independently analyses the existing infrastructure and develops solutions based on these results. The app guides users to solve the problem at hand, allowing them to adapt to any situation that may arise.


“Simplexity” – combination of simplicity and complexity

Probably the biggest challenge is to combine the complexity of the system with the simplicity of a user interface. The app must map the processes, request relevant information from the users to categorise the problem, determine the correct solution path and inform the users about the current state of affairs. At the same time, it must provide a coherent user experience. In order to achieve a simple user interface with all the functions described, the app only shows users the top level, the technically sophisticated part remains hidden.


Intuitiveness – Usable without subject-specific knowledge

The great advantage of an application that consists of a visible and an invisible part, like an iceberg, is that users receive an intuitive and plausible solution that does not confront them with technical questions or details, but provides a one-way street to solving their problem. Without a lot of trial and error, a self-service solution is highly efficient and intuitive and ensures a high problem-solving rate.


The importance of intuitive user guidance for younger generations

The intuitive user experience is especially important for younger generations, such as Gen Z, because they have grown up with digital technologies and expect intuitive user experiences. They are familiar with fast information processing, have a high affinity for technology and value time-saving, seamless experiences. An intuitive user experience meets these expectations and enables them to use digital products efficiently and adapt quickly to new technologies.


Conclusion: Intuitive user guidance is the key to success

Having the solution to a problem is often not enough – being able to explain that solution sufficiently to ensure that everyone is on board is what really makes it. UX and UI design tend to become an even more important part of an application as apps become more complex. As a link between users and the programme, intuitive user guidance should ensure universality and intuitiveness and break down even the most complicated steps into comprehensible instructions.

Choosing the right medium to transfer these steps to the solution is an important basis for serving the needs of the clients in the best possible way.

We have made it our vision to empower people to master complex processes themselves. The future of customer support is here – are you on board?

Author: Mathias Feistl

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