Change and innovation inertia, your worst enemy.
Naturally, humans are apprehensive when it comes to the subject of change. We fear the unknown and are generally reluctant to take risks.
This is how we as a species, have been wired and programmed. It’s been our little red warning light since our existence and it has served us well.
If the hunter has used the same trail all his life and never had the problem of coming home empty handed, why try a different route off the beaten path and risk being eaten by a sabretooth tiger? It is somewhat of a survival instinct and we still carry it to this day.
Especially when it comes to the topic of innovating in enterprises.
But, Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest. Or from the words of Einstein, “Nothing happens until something moves”. Quite straightforward and obvious statements but both really bring to light the topic of this post. Innovation Inertia.
The definition of inertia is “a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged”. Therefore, innovation inertia is when a person, group or enterprise is resistant or unwilling to innovate and bring forth change.
Reasons for such resistance can be attributed to a number of reasons such as
- Fear of failure.
- Why try to fix something that isn’t broken?
- Resistance to change and the unknown.
- Simple laziness towards exploring new ideas and concepts.
Don’t aim to survive, aim to thrive.
These are words I live by and they have been a catalyst for the all the positive change in my life.
Let’s go back to the hunter scenario and the basic survival instinct of avoiding risk in order to survive.
The route off the beaten path that the hunter had been avoiding and resistant to taking all his life, what if it led to a whole new opportunity? Bigger game, new and exotic fruits, never seen before materials and resources?
Meanwhile, other hunters and gatherers who dared to risks found the opportunity to innovate.
The “how it’s always been done” hunter has been left behind and realises he is merely surviving while the others are thriving.
This holds true in the current world for enterprises who are resistant to change and innovation. A world where the success of modern day businesses and powerhouses we all know such as Tesla, Amazon, Netflix and Facebook were all attributed to the very thing most are scared of, change and innovation.
The late, great Steve Jobs put it perfectly when he said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”.
I will admit I left out another reason resistance to change and innovation exists.
Sometimes, people just don’t know where to start and need guidance on how they can stop surviving in the past and thriving in the future.
How can we increase form completion on our site?
“Oh look, another chatbot blog post. What am I doing wrong now?”
Well lately, I have been waying up the pros and cons of chatbots (or simpler conversational forms/interfaces) from a user experience (UX) perspective. With this post, I thought I would narrow it down to one important area that has been a focus on a few projects.
“How can I improve the completion rate of a form on a website” (or, in other words – “how do I satisfy the users goals as well as achieving the businesses goals?”)
Let’s take a look at the humble website form. These are VERY common and if you have a website, chances are you have a form that requires the user to fill in their information. Whether it’s a quoting process, contact form, event sign up or a regular account style sign up – It can most likely be done better as a conversation. So let’s discuss a few pro’s and con’s of a conversation replacing a form. We will look at the time difference, mistake correction, cross-platform and trust.
Here is a rough example of an airfare quote/search form that I’ve put together and on the right is the same form but as a conversation. This is an example that I will use during the article.
Alright, straight off the bat converting a traditional form into a conversation is slower. Is this bad? most likely not. Although when applied to a more complex form, the speed may be a significant downside to the users’ experience. Despite this, there are a number of elements that can also be applied to increase the experience and ease the grind of the transaction. Speed is a challenge that would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis but with this downside to chatbots, there is one major factor that outweighs this hiccup.
The use of chatbot is far more engaging than a static form. The use of a chatbot can introduce a sense of humor and personality that a regular form just cannot offer the user. With this, the user will feel more fulfilled and feel as though their interaction was more personal.
This is something that is a challenge we face when compared to traditional methods. If a user was to review their responses and they spot a mistake in their input, what happens?
Well. This is a challenge the UX process would have to break down in order to make the transaction as obvious as possible. For the flight search process for example. The bot might have to ask the user to review their answers before continuing. Or if the bot had some more complex tech behind it (such as natural-language processing or NLP), it might be able to pick up a mistake before continuing to the next question.
This is an important factor to consider when designing/developing a chatbot as it can affect the speed of completion considerably. Although is definitely not something to be afraid of.
So, we already know how to send a message and we also know the basics of a messaging platform. This is something we don’t have to re-design the wheel of. This is where we can use platforms such as Facebook’s messenger (and many, MANY more platforms) for our conversations. By integrating our chatbots with platforms that people already know this allows the user to solely focus on the conversation compared to trying to learn a new platform.
This is a great benefit and also comes with other important factors such as being able to integrate the platform directly with your website as well as being found easily by users without leaving an application they are already using!
Alright, so sometimes we might have a form on our website that requires payment methods or sensitive information. This is a psychological hurdle that we as a community need to tackle. There’s a sense that a static, impersonal form can’t do harm like a “person” can. This is a factor that can be improved through effective UX conversation design (much like the design of a payment method form seen below). Through the use of simple visual elements, the payment input seems more secure and makes the user understand that there are security measures associated with this input. Alternatively, This issue is another factor that can also be solved through other elements and integrations just like messengers current payment inputs (seen below). I like this messenger solution to payment methods, as it is simply applying current payment UX that already works.
Payments (beta) Source: Facebook for developers
To summarise what I think from a UX perspective. I think a conversation is a more effective method for completing a form. It does come with its complications that are something that shouldn’t be afraid of. From this UX perspective, it’s a challenge we’re ready to face.
- Offers sense of humor or personality
- More personal
- Human touch
- Better user retention
- Far more engaging
- Time taken to complete is something that is unknown
- Mistake correction
- Trust with sensitive information
Obviously, some forms may not be an effective conversation but for genal purposes. A conversation can definitely improve the completion of a form for a number of reasons, some that I am yet to explore! You just have to remember when, where and who is going to use this form or chatbot? and how do you want it to be used.
Most imporantly – “how do I satisfy the needs of the user.”
Do you have a form or a process you think could benefit greatly from being a conversation? or are unsure if it is an effective method to use? I would love to hear your ideas!
You can also find us on Medium.