Technology is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I love technology, and I am grateful to live in a generation where I can witness the plethora of clever innovations in this not-so-material world.
However, sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself that, as fascinating as technology can be, it is people that make technology what it is.
Have we been helping people online?
Looking back in digital history, the first remarkable digital solution I experienced that truly improved the lives of others was online banking. It allowed us the flexibility of not always having to go to the bank. As time progressed, the banking experience continued to get better and better -- in fact, you can even deposit your checks from the comfort of your own home by using your phone's camera and the banking app. That was unheard of (some argued it couldn't be done) just a few short years ago.
It was Google that gave us information at our fingertips.
Their mission statement clearly expressed how they wanted to help people: "organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." So useful indeed that some friends of mine recently just told me a story about how they were able to assist in their physician's diagnosis, by looking up and sharing pictures of the skin condition they had with the doctor.
Amazon led the charge to make buying easier for consumers, and they did that in such a way that other eCommerce businesses can only mimic their methodologies. Amazingly, they've been able to repeat those methodologies into new offerings, such as their outsourced datacenter services (a.k.a. Amazon Web Services).
Apple may have started the computer revolution, but as time went by, they made it easier for us to buy music by becoming the largest online music distributor in the world, with iTunes.
Social Media is where we really saw the envelope being pushed to help people online.
It filled a natural need for people to be closer, allowing for convenient online communication and interactivity, instead of writing emails (even though email was responsible for taking the place of written letters).
Are we still helping people online?
Consequently, Social Media's introduction to the world exposed a gap in the website world, where many websites became just another online brochure. The information age and the race for people to get people to their website (a.k.a. SEO) left companies offering way too much information about themselves, and offering no value to the viewer.
Are websites headed for the graveyard? I personally don't think so, and there's one main reason why - Millennials. Young people simply don't know a life without digital, and they will push us to places we haven't seen yet online.
This new digital world is already taking shape.
Just browsing through LinkedIn, there are entire sectors, departments and portfolios of business that are now dedicated to the digital marketplace. New corporate job titles are popping up with descriptions like Customer Experience, Customer Engagement, UX (User Experience), Innovation, Interactivity, etc.
Social Media posts are showing trends of a marketing population with a hunger to have a more precise understanding of their viewers' and clients' online experiences through the use of more advanced testing, like Journey Mapping (a diagram tool that illustrates the steps customers go through in engaging with a company online), and more.
The healthcare industry is a great example of the digital direction.
Healthcare is such a confusing, frustrating and expensive beast, that the entire industry is looking at ways that they can truly help consumers online. Online State public health insurance exchanges like the Access Health website in Connecticut and the Connect for Health in Colorado are stepping up with useful tools to help people decide on what plans are best for them.
The website world took a snooze for awhile, and for those that weren't asleep, objectives were more self serving instead of being set up as a 'win-win.' However, it seems to me that the industry is taking notice and moving the right direction, and that change of course is an exemplification of what it means to help humans in the digital world.
About the Author
At CodeBaby, I am responsible for a large regional enterprise sales strategy that works with those companies investing in their digital strategy to improve online customer experience, drive conversion objectives, and improve online self-service initiatives -- while reducing customer service costs. My favorite part of the job is knowing that I am an integral part in solving business challenges.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Kak Varley