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UX in action: Smarten up your offerings

December 1, 2015

Paul Clarke   

User Experience & Web Technologies Architect

The Grand Prize Winner of the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize Paul Clarke impressed the judges with his ‘Signals and Streams’ entry; a concept which brings new way for the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team to make faster decisions between its factory and the race track. Here he looks at the technological leaps of our generation and argues that need to ‘smarten up their offerings’ to meet the demands of the next generation.

We live in an ever advancing digital age and we often attribute progress to ‘disruptive’ ventures or innovative companies, but that is only half the story. If we look at the offerings that are making the biggest waves and achieving the greatest success, they are driven by expectation rather than eccentric thinking.

Take a look at Uber and Netflix. Ask anyone and they will tell you that they must have been conceived by genii, and while I agree that the execution takes a special talent to achieve the success that these companies have had, their real genius is simply how appropriate they are in the now and how well they satisfy user expectations.

As with most successful ideas and concepts, the beauty is often in its simplicity. I don’t mean technical simplicity but simplicity from a user interaction point of view. For anyone that has fired up the Uber app on their phone it seems obvious that this is how ridesharing should be delivered. The same is true for Netflix, just as it was for Gmail back in the day.

I grew up at a time where my parent’s generation frequently complained that they were not able to keep up with technology and were in awe of the next generation and their ability to program the VCR at such a young age. This was a time of great technical leaps, the birth of the Internet and it was certainly a challenge to keep in touch. But now we are faced with a new generation of millennials, to whom technology and mobility is like riding a bike.

So everyone can ease off now, no need to make things easy to use by the technology illiterate? No way, far from it!

The knowledge that this generation has and their expectation for things to work in a particular way brings with it a significant number of new challenges. Plus they have the added benefit of being able to express themselves effortlessly and visibly if their expectation are not met.

As this generation enters the workforce it is not simply service providers that will be challenged but also employers. In recent decades employees have expected a phone, Internet connection and a PC as their office staples, but we’ve seen a trend in recent years that has pushed the boundaries of workforce mobility. This is only the beginning and you can imagine that the ability for workplaces to keep up with their employees’ expectations is going to cause just as many headaches as it does for services providers.

It’s ok though, things will just get better, they always have!

Although this appears to be true, this isn’t achieved by accident or without a significant amount of effort. Take Google’s search engine for example. During the dotcom boom there were many contenders, but where are they now? Google didn’t just get better by accident, they got smart and met expectations in a simple and seamless way, and they are still doing it to this day. You may not be able to put your finger on it but their products have something, some smarts that set them apart. Having said that, they are not alone — there is an ever increasing gamut of companies that have smart offerings that make our lives wonderfully simple. But, there are also a number of companies that are being left behind, unable or unwilling to provide smart offerings.

So, just as it always has been, the smarter companies need to take heed and smarten up their offerings to meet the expectations of the new generation, or face becoming out of touch and suffering the consequences of doing so on a well-connected public stage.

Do you agree or disagree with Paul? Leave your comments below. And read Paul’s previous post on the path to becoming an F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize winner.


Tata Communications was the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1® between 2012 and 2019. Tata Communications was also the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and Official Digital Transformation Partner to ROKiT Williams Racing until the end of the 2019 season.