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Digital Expectations

Submitted by: Matthew Nelson

Posted: Mar 07, 2016 – 06:00 AM EST

Tags: volunteering, employee giving, philanthropy

 
Matthew_nelson

At New York Life we are implementing a new partner to handle our volunteering, giving campaign (or as I like to think of it now, marketing campaign for giving), and matching gifts programs. The process takes my breath away. I am in complete awe of how many details there are that must be gotten right. And I realize that I have very unrealistic expectations. Here’s why.

I Google things dozens of times a day. I now expect every search engine to know me and bring up exactly what I want the first time. I want it to recognize that I misspelled or mistyped something and correct it, question it, or search for what I really meant. I want the search engine to know what I have done in the past and make some assumptions about my next search. I want it to think like Matthew thinks! In a scary way, Google does all that. 

And then there is shopping. Even though I live in New York City, where you can find anything, I still do most of my shopping on Amazon and have everything delivered to my door. And so I now expect every website to be as easy to use as Amazon, right down to remembering my credit card number, tracking my purchase, and emailing me updates when my purchase is en route or has arrived at my door. I now expect to go online and find out what is happening with my purchase: I have tracked roses from Ecuador to Miami to Columbus and finally to Lost River, West Virginia, just in time for Valentine’s Day! 

This is what I expect in any online system I use. Can you see why I have unrealistic expectations for our new partner for our volunteering and giving community? But unfortunately it’s not just me; most end users expect this level of responsiveness now. 

I sat in on some usability testing of our new website, which recorded every click, mouse movement, and thought as end users tried out the system. We had all the testers go through the same scripted tests. We watched for what worked and what didn’t. It helped us understand the spots people consistently stumble over. And it taught us what we need to emphasize in our communications and what is intuitive. 

The first person who tested our new system was a millennial. Unlike millennials, Digital is not my first language. This millennial tester, however, speaks Digital fluently, so she came to the usability testing with not only her Google and Amazon experiences, but many more than I bring to the table. She ran through the tests with incredible speed. Since the testing is recorded, you could literally see where her eyes were tracking on the screen and then see the mouse trail. Fortunately, she also talked through her process. “I am looking for the Help button. Usually it is up here. Oh, there it is at the bottom.” She remarked on how easily the system worked and the places that her millennial brain found inconsistent or confusing.

The results of the usability testing were quite positive, and they also helped us create a list of top ten tips for navigating the new volunteering and giving website. We will manage expectations, appreciate the intuitive parts of the system, and communicate those parts that need additional explanation. As we roll out the new site, all of us, with time, will learn its unique Digital language and we’ll work to improve our corporate responsibility programs together.

I hope you’ll join me and other CSR professionals for the Charities@Work conference in March in New York for more peer-to-peer sharing and networking. Click here to register today.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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