Success! Separate Yourself From the Pack for Innovative Online Experiences

Truly engaging online experiences rely on innovation and differentiation, according to experts.

Life online

What are the key characteristics of successful online experiences? And what features or capabilities are innovative companies using to deliver these digital interactions?

We asked the IDG Influencer Network — a community of industry analysts, IT professionals, and journalists who contribute their knowledge and expertise to the broader IDG community — to describe what successful online experiences look like.

Many of the experts cited the need for inspiration deeply rooted in intimate knowledge of the user:

  • “Businesses that deliver the most innovative online experiences operate with a ‘feral’ mentality. In other words, they develop product from time spent out in the wild, as opposed to deciding what customers want from a conference room. I also find the most successful companies don’t see innovation as replication.” —Frank Cutitta (@fcutitta), CEO and founder, HealthTech Decisions Lab
  • A business that delivers innovative online experiences “keeps an ear to the ground by being constantly connected to market demands and cultural change, primarily through the use of fine-tuned social media. That means knowing who to listen to and what the various segments (demographics, age groups) are reacting positively to. It’s a company that is not afraid to fail in its attempt to connect.” —Steven M. Prentice (@StevenPrentice), author and speaker
  • “The top online experiences are developed with a speed-to-value mindset, meaning that the engineering team understands the end user personas, needs, and value propositions and designs experiences that make it faster and easier for them. That includes optimizing for performance, especially for global apps that process large data sets and deliver personalized experiences.” —Isaac Sacolick (@nyike), president of StarCIO and digital transformation leader and influencer

Optimizing experiences based on user testing, data analysis, and ongoing experimentation is also key to delivering engaging interactions, according to experts.

  • Businesses that do this have “a tolerance for risk and experimentation. Leadership gives teams the tools, resources, budget, and space to innovate and create. Just as important, they have a culture that supports rapid yet constructive feedback to enable teams to iterate on the online experiences.” —Will Kelly (@willkelly), technical marketing manager for a container security startup
  • “The mass of data and the focus on data collection is now turning to data access and understanding. The results can mean rethinking old truths about how to serve customers and putting online designs to the test with actual usage patterns to identify dead ends and things like ‘rage clicks’ where the experience isn’t working for customers.” —Matt Turner (@matt_turner_nyc), director of Industry Strategy at Alation

Online experiences that stand out must also be delivered consistently and reliably, say the Influencers:

  • “Consistent uptime is vital to deliver these experiences across the internet, so businesses must invest in robust content delivery systems that work all day, every day. Companies and industries must be resilient and prepared to swiftly address a customer’s concerns before they scale up to affect many customers.” —Scott Schober (@ScottBVS), president/CEO Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Inc.
  • “The most innovative online experiences achieve the right balance between personalization and speed of communication, offering accurate and reliable information when you want, contextually. This process can be aided through bots but supplemented by real-time human interaction when required, alongside all-important 24-hour responsiveness.” —Sridhar Iyengar (@isridhar), managing director, Zoho Europe

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