With more companies developing new types of software and solutions for the web, user interface complexity is bound to burst some user bubbles. It’s now a basic goal of any web application to make sure that the interface is clear enough for their users to be 100% satisfied and converting.

There have been many advances in how to accomplish a better experience. For example, websites and applications have increasingly resorted to a more flat design, which creates a simplistic, clear, and easy-to-navigate experience.

Google’s user interface would have been thought of as less than impressive just over a year ago, but today, they are a prime example from which companies are taking inspiration. Other applications have adopted features to engage users through gamification techniques—Stackoverflow does a great job of this in order to increase active user participation. The use of rewards through asking and answering questions and providing ratings has proven to be successful for the platform.

Recent trends and disruptions in technology have begun to show more interactive solutions on user interfaces. These trends have ushered in an age of self-service or self-tasking, allowing users to rely on their intuition and promoting a sense of confidence in using complicated technologies. This is changing the way users are interacting (or not interacting) with support departments. This article aims to introduce a few new technologies that are disrupting the “help” market in the self-tasking age.

Goodbye, Help Button.

No longer are users resorting to “help” buttons when using a product. The principles and values of new technologies are instilling a sense of confidence in users. A recent article by Simon Cast highlights the strategies that are minimizing the fear in users when using a product. He proposes the following:

1. Make all actions the user accomplishes undoable. That is, users should feel comfortable enough to be able to fix mistakes by pressing undo.

2. Allow users to play around. Cast asserts that users should have the chance to try out the product before working on the real thing.

3. Do your users need some assistance? Teach them. Do not have users resort to guessing how the product works.
There is no intuitive user experience, Cast says. I agree, and I see new companies focusing on building technology with the prime goal of focusing on user context. Additionally, they are focusing on alleviating the fear that users have when using a product, interactively guiding them through a journey so that they become more comfortable and familiar with a product. Let’s take a look that a few self-tasking technologies currently on the market.

Nina Web

Nina Web is a web-based customer self-service technology that is used to answer simple questions or offer basic help. The technology provides a branded persona that gives the user personalized help in the form of a human-like conversational interface.

Why wait for a customer support rep when you have a personal virtual assistant for any issues you come across? This decreases the reliability on customer support representatives. When using a service like Nina Web, companies will not need to invest in special live chat reps to assist customers. Nina manages to do all of the on-front work instantly, delivering answers to any kind of questions users might have. This can be very useful if you want to increase the time visitors spend on your site and deliver them a more meaningful user experience.

Zurb’s jQuery Joyride

jQuery provides static balloons that are built by the website owner, who has the technological knowledge. The technology saves the users from confusing FAQ pages and time-consuming customer service calls. With Joyride, customers are able to pursue self-service, allowing them to feel like they are in a trustful environment while browsing a website. In turn, companies using the service will be able to increase self-service adoption rates, saving money on support calls and documentation. The company recently released a v2.0, which promises to deliver a more responsive experience and work on all screen sizes.
It is evident that these technologies and this strategy in business are starting to become a main driver for a positive online experience.

What are the benefits of these products?

The ease of a visual: Many advocate for tailor-made support where human capital is used to assist specific users, but with such an approach many users miss out on crucial points in the user experience flow or journey. Therefore, businesses can use these technologies to present an easier visual experience where their users can seamlessly identify the steps to complete the tasks.

Time-saving: Time is the vertical by which the vast majority of online users judge whether the user experience they have had on an application was positive or negative. For instance, watching an online video tutorial for 10 minutes and then spending the next 10 minutes actually doing what the video described may help you accomplish the task, but 10 of those 20 minutes represent a loss. Though this user experience is not a total failure, it’s definitely not a total success.

Unobtrusive: These systems are not obtrusive to the user. The user has the opportunity to disengage them whenever they want if they understand the process. These systems are meant to give users a boost of confidence, quickly, and in a laid-back manner, creating an experience that is relaxed and not stressful.

Analytical: These technologies can provide analytics so that the business can understand the context of their users. For example, the company can see where their users are getting stuck in the navigation flow during a checkout process. This can help identify which elements are irrelevant and need to be taken out of the flow.

More and more analytic systems are being implemented in order to boost customer experience strategy, allowing businesses to understand users in a more personalized manner. They know the customer context, are in a more informed position to address customer issues, and have access to social context of the customer.

Promoting a self-tasking approach among your users with these types of tools can create a fresh and intuitive user experience. The tools manage to enhance your website’s user experience automatically, deliver a better insight to the customer, and help guide them toward achieving his/her purpose.