5 minutes with... Joe MacLeod

By Clare Reucroft | 12/04/2018

Joe MacLeod

1. At Camp Digital, your talk is entitled “Ending it. Emotionally, responsibly, with your business intact.” Why is this topic important and what can audience members expect?

Try telling a business they should improve the end of their customer relationship. It sounds counter-intuitive - right?

At Camp Digital, I will be sharing findings from the Ends book, in which I suggest that a lack of consumer endings is a defining factor in the ills of consumption. I also argue that it improves the wider consumer experience. And further, prepares businesses for a more competitive future in a world of less loyalty.

Our consumer culture is bias. As creators of products, we craft emotional messages to lure the consumer to commit. As the attraction fades, so does that loyalty. The provider looks to new products and services to launch. The consumer looks to the market to fulfill new needs. Both overlook the importance of responsible endings.

We witness this blindness of endings across sectors. As people react to the data debacle of Facebook, they seek the deletion of their accounts. The GDPR legislation provides a framework to enable this, empowering consumers to own their data and end their data relationships with dignity.

Open Banking promises to empower the consumer in seeking new products. But, beyond this, it will see consumers jumping between products at a faster pace. Businesses that don’t design endings will drown in this marketplace of many engagements.

Ends are coming. A good ending for your customers might save your business.

2. What projects are you working on at the moment? And which are you most excited about?

Ends can be applied to a wide range of issues. Everything ends, but we fail to design them in our consumer experiences. I try and spend a couple of months working on an aspect of Ends and applying it to a particular sector. Writing and publishing articles, creating proposals and sharing ideas with industry leaders.

Recently, I considered the Circular Economy and Corporate Social Responsibility. These issues overlook active endings in the consumer lifecycle. This involved writing articles and speaking about it at conferences dedicated to sustainability - DIF and Sustainable UX.

Right now, I am looking at GDPR and the changes it is going to bring to consumer endings and data.

3. Why do you think UX has become so important for modern business strategy?

Digitalisation has become a critical aspect of business. The automation behind this has removed humans at every level. Good interfaces help consumers engage with business systems - ordering pizza, checking bus times, or tracking health. Creating efficiencies across the business.

Future interfaces aim to introduce human characteristics back in. The irony…

4. What are you most looking forward to at Camp Digital?

The conversations after the talks. It’s so valuable to get feedback about new ideas like the Ends project. Discussing it with people and getting their insights and reflections on it. Conferences are great at creating these moments, and I value that. So, personally, I am looking forward to this opportunity at Camp Digital.

More broadly, forums like this are important for an industry to discuss wider issues and share recent knowledge. We all have a little blood on our hands with data and digital tracking, so an opportunity to reflect on this is vital. And I thank Camp Digital for providing this type of forum.