Monitoring the online customer experience, by Mark Hurst.
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The ROSE framework

Monday, November 17, 2003
by Mark Hurst

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The ROSE framework is a distillation of some of the more valuable lessons I've learned in customer experience work over the past 10 years or so.

I have presented ROSE at various events and organizations recently and people have said they found this useful - so here are some of the high points.

ROSE is Results, Organization, Strategy, Experience.

(I call it ROSE because it's more positive than SORE, and less racy than EROS. Never promise a speech on EROS and then talk about customer experience strategy the whole time.)

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Customer experience work only matters to a business if it generates business results. That's different from usability results, which means improving "task success" or "time on task."

Business results are metrics that the CEO can understand: revenue, conversion rate, operating savings. You have to create a team and a process to measure those results; the metrics-announcement e-mail won't magically float into your inbox.

Most importantly, you have to use the right method to create those improvements in the first place. This is different from writing a "usability report" that no one reads; I mean actually changing what the user reads, clicks, touches. And the only way you'll create any tangible change is with the next bullet.


The only way changes ever get made to a customer experience is if the organization buys into those changes.

And the only way the decision-makers buy into those changes is if they feel some ownership.

Hint: no one feels ownership when a usability researcher plops a report on the desk and makes academic pronouncements about the site.

Involve the decision-makers in your process - the listening labs, the strategy sessions, the wireframes - and they might just buy in.

By the way, I've written about this in the past:


Fry the biggest fish you can. This means, try to solve the most important problems in the user experience. These are almost always strategic, not tactical.

For years, usability professionals have concerned themselves with tactical details in the user experience (where to put the navbar, exactly how many items it should hold, etc.) and have missed the reality of customer experience: it's strategic.

Here's a common example: If the user can't figure out what the site does, or what its primary feature is, don't do anything else on the site until you fulfill the user's key unmet need. Don't rewrite the site map, don't run tactical usability tests, and for heaven's sake, don't spout off about "branding" and run a new multi-million-dollar ad campaign. (Yes, I've seen it happen.)

Instead, fix the strategic problem. Make the experience better. (See next bullet.)


Remember that this entire process is about the experience that a user has on the site, or in the store, or with the product.

It's not primarily about "branding" or "market penetration" or "information architecture" or even "usability." Those things may be important, but the primary concern is, did the user have a good experience?

It's a holistic question that joins many parts of the organization, has strategic implications, and can generate huge results. But you have to ask the right question: is it a good experience?

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