It has become evident to me in recent months that digital isn’t enough.
Many institutions have expected customers to rely solely on digital tools and quite frankly, I’ve begun to realise that not enough people have the access needed.
My mother is a secondary school teacher and she has told me that it has been a struggle to get schoolchildren to do their school work during the pandemic. Some because there isn’t the guidance, support and prompts they receive with the face-to-face environment of a school, and some because they don’t have access to a device or the internet.
Working primarily in digital, it can be easy to forget that not everyone has access to the new-fangled tools we create online.
Although a large proportion of the population has a personal mobile phone, not all are smartphones and not all people use or know how to use them for things except the basics.
Inclusive design and equality of access
Digital can be easier and cheaper to deliver for businesses but it really shouldn’t be the only way a service is delivered in many industries.
We also shouldn’t penalise or make it harder for people to access services for those that do not have access.
As a service designer, my role is to consider the offline and online channels as well as the staff and customer-facing tools, processes and journeys.
My role involves highlighting to businesses the pain points customers and staff face as they try to achieve their goals. Fairly often, businesses focus much of their improvement efforts on the digital channels, leaving the non-digital channels to languish.
In a world where everything is changing so rapidly, I can understand the drive for improving the online experience, but some users aren’t quite ready or well equipped for this change.