Entrepreneurial efforts to create a lasting businesses with a recognizable brand centers upon fostering a strong sense of continuity.
Entrepreneurs should reflect on how they can implement strategies that produce harmony between the visual expression of their brand, the products that represent their brand, and the overall experience customers have when they interact with the business.
Fundamentally, continuity is what bridges change.
While business must be flexible to adapt to dynamic market changes, they must also create and maintain a sense of uniformity that is visible and continuous over the lifespan of the business. This is particularly relevant if your business remains involved in the same market or sector that it was founded in.
Focusing on software solutions, establishing a foundational sense of continuity for a customer’s user experience is essential to keeping users engaged and comfortable using a solution they are already familiar with.
This is even more the case when developing a solution for multiple devices and platforms including; mobile phones, tablets and personal computers. Given the different constraints of each device, fostering a sense of continuity can be a real challenge for businesses large and small.
Nevertheless, achieving a strong sense of continuity affords businesses the following strengths:
By ensuring that a solution can be easily understood no matter what device it is experienced through, businesses can cultivate a distinct user experience that transcends the devices. Ultimately, entrepreneurs should strive to develop a user experience that becomes distinctly representative of their business and brand.
Entrepreneurs withs the help of their engineering and design teams should design their solutions such that the features, user settings, and content are displayed in similar and consistent ways. The goal is to make the user comfortable engaging with the solution and provide the same user experience no matter the medium (device) it is accessed and experienced through.
C. Efficiency & Equanimity
Great design cultivates a sense of natural fluidity that efficiently guides users throughout the different features of a solution. Developing software with a sense of equanimity means building a user experience that makes users feel comfortable and confident that they are getting the same incredible experience no matter the device they choose to use.
In all of these cases the important takeaway is to simplify the process with which users adopt your solution and maintain a high level of engagement over the long term.
Achieving this requires balancing the design process between simplicity, consistency and change.
And, the same principles apply to tangible products or services. Again, the goal is to maintain a clear recognizable form while adapting to market changes.
There are a number of important considerations entrepreneurs along side their design and programing teams should consider to develop a strong sense of continuity for their solutions. Particularly for software applications.
Here, we examine the 3 pillars of establishing continuity; informational continuity, management continuity and relational continuity:
1. Information Continuity
Represents designing a software solution such that users are not required to re-enter information as they move across device platforms. The user’s information and preferences should be synchronized across all devices.
Aspects of Information Continuity include:
- Profile Information
- Recent Activity / History
- Shortcuts (i.e, bookmarks)
The objective is to limit the barriers through which a user must habitually overcome before experiencing the benefits of your solution. The more seamless the accessibility, the more engaged users will become.
2. Management Continuity
Represents creating an product experience that recognizes the context through which the software solution is being accessed from and adapts accordingly. The design and features of the solution should compliment one another based on a consistent information architecture.
Aspects of Management Continuity include:
- Device Type
- Time of Day
- The Activity
- Information Architecture
The goal is to limit any areas for possible confusion among your customers. Users who become accustomed with a solution, and through a specific device, will expect to have the same experience no matter the device they use. Allowing for significant design and functionality differences among the devices your solution operates on will breed confusion. And, in the worst case scenario users will abandon your solution.
3. Relational Continuity
Represents cultivating an emotional connection with your customers. Entrepreneurs should be committed to establishing trust between their business’s solution and customers. Creating a recognizable structure across all device platforms is important because it ensures familiarity. But, business should also provide a personalized experience to demonstrate to customers that they are valued as unique individuals.
Aspects of relational continuity include:
- Visual branding
- Personalization features
- Privacy controls
- Customer service
The objective is to establish a clear balance between uniformity and customization. Users must be comfortable using your solution across devices. But, they will also desire features to customize their experience in ways that are unique to their own personal preferences.
The ultimate objective of each form of continuity is to reduce the barriers that prevent customers from adopting your solution, and leaving it.
Continuity allows for quick understanding, while also leaving room for incremental changes that can improve the user experience of your solution, product or service.
Entrepreneur's top priority should be to ensure that customers engage with their solution and ultimately make the solution a habitual part of their everyday life.
By accomplishing this, businesses offer real and tangible value to their customers. And, if the solution is both valuable and well executed, customers will likely become advocates of your business and promoters of your solution because it enhances their everyday living experience.
It is for these reasons that entrepreneurs, and business leaders alike, should place establishing continuity throughout their business and representative solutions high on the list of priorities.
Continuity, more than is typically imagined, meaningfully contributes towards creating a lasting & successful company.
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