Accessibility kicks the arse of superiority – The Art of persuasive digital engagement
Probably late in the day, but I recently stumbled across the quite brilliant Hailo taxi app co-founded by three cabbies in London. For those not familiar with this app, it allows you to select a black cab in the near vicinity, indicating how many minutes it will take to reach you and gives the taxi details to look out for when it arrives.
After arriving at your destination you can then automatically pay with your credit or debit card as the fare on the meter is charged straight to your account. Without any additional mark-ups and a copy of the receipt emailed directly after the journey I found it to be a joy in its simplicity and effectiveness – especially when using it for the first time on a late, wet and windy night. And of course the cabbies win too as they find more passengers on the street, with the added benefit of avoiding traffic on the way through an alert system.
Better sometimes isn’t good enough
Since then I have discovered what I thought to be an even better service called minicabit. This overcomes some of the few niggles I had about Hailo – in that it allows you to confirm the cost up front, save regular destinations for speedy retrieval and also works across the UK rather than just London.
However I won’t be using minicabit anytime soon within London for one simple reason – accessibility. Or to be more precise the lack of it. You see minicabit currently only offers its service via a website – not as an app – which means when using a mobile it requires 3 clicks before I can access the site versus just one click with the Hailo app. Given this is a service I’d normally use on my mobile this effort barrier means Hailo gets my vote as it’s good enough for the job with the advantage of speedier access.
Now students of marketing will know the power of accessibility is a powerful driver to consumer uptake. Take the well-known latter day example from the world of video where the superior Betamax format was outflanked by VHS as the latter had a better distribution strategy. And from personal experience I recall from previous days of working on the marketing of tabloid newspapers the biggest influence on sale wasn’t the news content or marketing promotions but availability.
If a newspaper was out of stock at the nearest newsagent the chances were that readers would substitute their preferred read for some other paper or go without rather than find another outlet that sold their paper. The reality is that it is part of human nature to choose the path of least resistance where expending too much effort becomes a barrier to motivation.
This is a lesson worth taking on board when it comes to digital design; something Joshua Porter referred to as seduction design. This works on the principle of increasing motivation by taking advantage of persuasive tactics that will make people take action. The most persuasive digital engagement focuses on making users feel comfortable about making decisions and helping them act on them.
This is a lesson the good folks at minicabit should take on board, as from my experience they are akin to a Ferrari with flat tyres – in that it looks good but is going nowhere fast.