index-mobile2007 was a watershed moment in technology. The iPhone redefined the concept of personal computing and the world as we knew it was never the same. In just a decade, we have seen the proliferation of smart devices in every aspects of our life. We take for granted the various conveniences  offered by our smart phones.

However too much of a good thing can also create fatigue. Our smartphones are cluttered with apps which we download and use once or twice and never revisit again. Like a kid in a candy store, we hoard on apps and eventually get tired of it and settle on a few which truly make your everyday life easy. If you start filtering apps with this lens, I bet most folks don’t use any more than 10 to 15 apps in a repeating basis.

Apple and Google haven’t really done much to help solve this hoarding issue of the users. I have always thought a neat feature in an operating system level would be is to notify the user of an app dormancy – if I haven’t touched a thing in 3+ months, is there any possibility I would ever use it again?  Recommend a list of these apps which I can get rid of and keep my sanity!

At the end of the the day, the few of the 10 to 15 apps we use may not be the best of the best but they may serve a utility which we cannot live without. A good example would be apps published by your banking and credit card providers. I counted a total of 10 apps in my phone representing my banking, credit card and investment/retirement account providers.

A fellow Fintech Mafia member Alex Jimenez mentioned the other day that most of the mobile banking apps are online banking shoved into a small screen. I tend to agree with his assessment. In a race to keep the mobile apps in feature parity, most financial institutions are in a rush to port the kitchen sink into their mobile apps. While I appreciate the swiss army knife of a mobile banking app, we really don’t need 48 features in a form factor meant to engage you for less than a few minutes to take care of quick and important banking transactions.

A mobile banking product manager’s wish is to figure out what makes the customer tick. Everyone wants to build the next Uber of the banking service. However, to get the formula right to digitally delight a customer is not an easy task.

What is Digital Delight you ask?

Digital Delight – if an online or a mobile product/service creates a pleasurable moment that makes an experience just a little more fun.

How can we can introduce this digital delight as a product designer? Not all of the apps can be digitally delightful as Monument Valley the game (which btw still blows my mind!). Sometimes the opportunity lies in taking the most mundane process workflow and integrating that into an informative notification that can make a huge difference.

Case in point – Delta launched a new redesigned app with a feature to track the status of your checked in bag.

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(Image Credit – Delta)

From the moment the baggage gets tagged into the system, the Fly Delta app starts tracking the baggage in transit.  You get notifications that your luggage has been loaded into your plane. It allows you to see where your bags are at any point in time even using a satellite map!

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(Image Credit – Delta)

I want to send kudos to the Delta team for making an useful feature like this part of their app update. This is certainly one of those things where I was delighted to see in action. A nice video of this feature is available here.

What other apps surprise/delight you in this fashion? Share them in the feedback section below. As I see digital delights in the wild I will make sure I share them as well.

Happy New Year 2017!

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