Users interact with companies and organizations through many channels, including the web, mobile and tablet applications, email, kiosks, online chat, and by speaking with customer representatives in physical locations or over the phone. When users engage with an organization through a specific channel, they see it as one of the many interactions that make up their overall user experience with the company. UX failures on any one channel reflect poorly on the experience as a whole.

Our user research on omnichannel user experience identified five key elements of a usable omnichannel experience:

This article discusses why seamlessness is important in the omnichannel experience.

Designing for the Entire Journey, Not for a Single Interaction

Often usersdon’t complete an activity in one sittingor through a single channel. Some of the most common reasons why users change channels include:

  • 上下文中存在外部中断或变化。在某些情况下,用户无法一次性完成活动,因为它们被中断。想象一下,您正在在您的桌面计算机上购买新的汽车保险单时,您是时候从学校拿起孩子的时候。在您在停车场等待时,您可以在移动设备上继续注册过程,利用您的车辆识别号码和车牌易于使用的事实。
  • The task is better suited for another channel。Users will often change channels because their activity has become too laborious on the current channel and a different channel appears more effective or efficient. Imagine discussing a charge on your mobile phone bill via online chat. If the circumstances are complex and require a lot of explanation, you might choose to call the carrier to continue the discussion over the phone instead of typing a lot of information. Or you may start to watch a live basketball game on your mobile phone on your commute from work, but, once you get home, you finish it on your desktop computer or large television.
  • The activity requires it。Some activities by nature require users to move across various channels to complete them. For example, preparing a meal from an online recipe can require multiple channels. It may begin on the desktop as you select a recipe, then move to the mobile app as you shop the list of ingredients in the store, and finish in the kitchen on a tablet so you can reference the recipe as you cook it.

Understanding why and when users move across channels can help you design efficient and streamlined channel transitions. Aim to string together these varioustouchpointsto create a seamless journey rather than a collection of disjointed interactions.

Definition: Seamlessness是一种高质量的跨渠道客户的旅程吗where the transitions (or handoffs) from one channel to the next involve zero or minimal overhead for the users. Basically, if you can pick up where you left off, the user experience will be seamless. But if users have to reestablish their contexts and/or redo work when switching to a new channel, then the experience will feel bumpy.

The Necessity of Seamlessness


Cinemark的设计特点为客户提供了无缝的旅程。网络和移动应用程序的体验可以识别用户的位置,并建议用户选择最喜欢的剧院。用户可以在桌面上浏览电影,但如果他们想利用像applepay这样的快速支付方式,可以在移动设备上购买电影票。一旦用户切换到移动应用程序,将显示在最喜爱(或最近)的影院播放的电影,因此用户将能够轻松地恢复任务。在剧院,您可以在柜台取票,也可以通过输入交易确认号或扫描用于购买的信用卡在售票亭取票。(如果用户能出示他们的确认号码或同等号码,那就更好了。)QR code— at the entrance, without having to pick up tickets.)

Once users enter the theater, a push notification to their mobile phones asks them to turn their phones to “CineMode”, which silences the phones during the movie. Those who opt in to CineMode immediately receive a reward redeemable at the concession stand. They can easily show the reward on their phone to the concession staff and will likely purchase even more!

This journey includes 5 touchpoints and 4 different channels, yet for users it’s one unique great experience, because it’s so easy to transition from one channel to the next without any significant roadblocks.

Cinemark Seamless Journey

在完成任务时,大多数客户对困难并不响应困难。如果是interaction cost做活动克服了它perceived value, users will abandon the task or the brand — either now, or in future interactions. Only those who are extremely motivated will work to overcome barriers.


Walmart Customer Journey
One study participant had to overcome 5 roadblocks (marked by red X icons) to purchase and return a baby swing from Each roadblock represents a moment in her customer journey when she was not able to complete the interaction as desired and needed to find an alternative option.

Identify Journey Roadblocks, Triggers, and Next Steps

Creating a seamless customer journey requires organizations to understand how customers move across channels to complete tasks, and also identify and eliminate potential roadblocks in the journey.

Start by conducting research about how your users complete key activities with your organization over time. Ask yourself:

  • Are there times when the activity requires users to change channels?If so, do you facilitate the transition or do you leave this burden up to your users?

HyVee Grocery Stores Aisles Online allows people to order groceries for pickup at the store. The confirmation email provides detailed instructions about how to pick up the items.

HyVee Store Pickup
Store pickup is required when ordering groceries online from HyVee. The confirmation email has clear pickup instructions, and signage at the store location helps users identify the pickup location.
Best Buy Order Pickup
Best Buy’s order-pickup text message did not provide instructions about how to pick up items at the store. One user in our study was confused about where she should park, as her items were large and heavy.
  • Are there workflows that your users commonly divide across multiple channels?如果是这样,你可以帮助自动化交叉频道转换吗?例如,许多谷歌地图桌面搜索方向的用户通常会在进入车辆时在其移动设备上进行相同的搜索。Google Maps Web界面提供直接将指示发送到手机的选项。
  • Do you trigger an action that drives users to another channel?If so, what are the next steps on that channel and will users be able to proceed successfully?


Behr Paint Kiosk
A website provide by an interactive display in Home Depot for Behr paint was not built for traffic coming from a mobile device and lacked the important details needed to move forward with the activity.
DailyLook Email
  • Do your customers encounter a roadblock?What can you do to solve it? A grocery shopper tried to use the grocery store’s mobile application to scan a digital coupon displayed on a carton of eggs for extra savings at the register. Unfortunately, the app was not able to scan the barcode. The user said, “I tried to scan the barcode for the app discount. No luck, it couldn't read it for some reason. Then I tried to search for the eggs in the app, and the discount wasn't there! Very confusing and frustrating, and I ended up not even getting the eggs.”

如果无法扫描条形码 - 例如,如果无法扫描条形码,则该应用程序应该提供替代方法来访问优惠券 - 例如,通过允许用户搜索产品并手动访问优惠券或键入与条形码对应的数字代码进行访问。

Egg Barcode Coupon
The store’s mobile app couldn’t scan the barcode, and there was no other way to get the discount.

User research such as field studies and diary studies can help you answer these questions and uncover ways to streamline the customer journey. In particular,diary studies帮助您了解随时间推移而展开的体验,并为您提供数据customer-journey maps, which are important for identifying, analyzing, and streamlining situations when the journey breaks down.

Streamline the Customer Journey


  • Make it easy to continue activities where they were left off.许多活动是连续的,应该很容易在不同的频道上恢复。想办法使这种转变尽可能容易。一些解决方案包括:
    • 身份验证。Requiring users to sign in as they use a channel is an easy solution, although不总是可以接受的。While sites such as Netflix and Facebook prevent use without an account, it is不合理地要求人们登录在他们允许在随机电子商务网站上购买电池之前。
    • Send link to resume。允许用户to email to themselves a link through which they could resume an activity is a low-cost way to ensure seamlessness. A version of this method is sending a QR code or simply a passcode, that, when entered, will enable users to finish their task on a different device.
    • 放手。Devices within the Apple ecosystem allow users to hand off an experience to a different device — for example, a movie being watched on the smartphone Hulu app could be continued on the iPad Hulu app by the touch of a button. Designers should take advantage of these operating-system provided opportunities.
Netflix Resume Task
  • 为用户提供Sandboxes以存储项目。Make it easy to re-access information or save progress when users get interrupted or switch channels mid task. Make sure your solutions provide ways to stop and start an activity without losing progress or doing rework.


Amazon allows users to add items of interest to wishlists (top) or to save them for later in the shopping cart (bottom). If they decide to purchase a product at a later date, they won’t have to locate it again.

Making information easily accessible for future interactions can be as simple as providing a link to your web content and making sure that the link is accessible across all devices. Many people will email themselves a link to a particular page to remember to visit it again or to simplify the task of reaccessing the content, so ensure that your site allows deep linking. (深度链接refers to supporting links to pages other than your site’s homepage.)

RealtorTextShare has email and text sharing capabilities on real estate listings within its iPad application.
  • Facilitate next steps.Be proactive — identify patterns of use and see if you can support them. Whenever you trigger an action that drives users to a different channel or you find users following a consistent crosschannel workflow, find ways to help them complete the next action rather than leaving this burden up to them. Google Maps’ Send to phone feature discussed above shows that designers understood how people use directions and supported them in transitioning to a different device. This is an example of a user-initiated pattern of use that was identified and facilitated by the design.

Think about when people may switch channels and iron any wrinkles in the transition. In the baby-swing example, Walmart did a nice job of facilitating the transition to the store for pickup. The email notifying the user that the items were ready for pickup provided step-by-step instructions and also showed a picture of the signage that customers should look for at the store. In addition, it informed users about a mobile application that could speed up the process.

UPS My Choice Roadblock

Seamless Experiences Often Require Changes Behind the Scenes


Backend technologies are only one aspect of the changes required behind the scene. Other constraints could be caused by separate fulfillment processes, disjointed organizational hierarchies and working teams, or old procedures that no longer work in the new multichannel world. Creating a seamless omnichannel experience depends on breaking down silos and integrating previously discrete experiences into a continuum.

Seamless: 3 of 5 Recommended Omnichannel Components

As companies and organizations design for the larger user experience, they should strive for supporting painless user transitions across channels. Seamless customer journeys allow users to interact with organizations on their terms, resulting in great customer experiences and lasting relationships.

除了无缝的外,必须的经历一致的,针对上下文进行了优化, orchestrated, and collaborative.

我们的全天课程Omnichannel Journeys and Customer Experiencecovers these recommended characteristics further.