A bit of magic: How to create a human-first digital experience


Nea Bjorkqvist

January 27, 2022 | 4 min read

Once upon a time in 2018, (in a land not so far away) RBS International’s strategy was focused on traditional communication channels — they were stuck in the past. Hence the bank summoned Heather Hearn-Poole, Digital Experience Lead, and Jamie-Lee Riley, Digital Experience Lead to transform their CX! 

We love Heather and Jamie-Lee’s story and can’t wait for their session all about creating human-first digital experiences at next month’s Hybrid Champagne Breakfast. So, in anticipation, we sat down with the duo to get a sneak peek into what’s in store (Psst…. if you’re a Disney fan, this one’s definitely for you!).

Question # 1: What is human digital experience to you?

Heather:  Human digital experience revolves around making journeys for customers that feel intuitive and effortless to use. In life, it’s often the snagging points on a website you notice: a picture not loading, typos, or not finding a link to click to take you on your journey that will have the biggest impact on you.

Yet, when it all works and you go to a website, say for a new car, and you easily find see the one you were searching for, have a page that loads on mobile so you can play about with colors, seats, extras, and see straight away how this impacts the final price…it makes you happy. 

It meets and probably exceeds your expectations in a way that could only happen if you spoke to someone and verbally said what you hoped your experience would be. Human digital experience is therefore about thinking about desire, need, and wish-fulfillment before a customer even necessarily knows what that means for them.

Jamie-lee: To me, it’s about more than the experience on-screen; the content, the copy, or the design. It’s about those moments where an emotional or personal connection is made with the customer. Experiences that make people, families, and businesses’ lives easier and find ways to help them thrive.

Question # 2: What’s the elevator pitch for your talk?

Heather: With the power of heavy-handed Disney metaphor, we’re going to be open and honest about how we took our digital real estate from uninspired and disconnected to our customers (a pumpkin), to responsive, flexible, and united across digital channels (the Fairy God Mother’s carriage).

You’ll be seeing the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly; all to the theme of Cinderella. If for nothing else, seeing how a bank can compare its painful website development journey to the transformation of pumpkin to carriage in Cinderella should be enough.

Jamie-Lee: I couldn’t have said it better myself! 


Question # 3: What’s your one top tip for creating a digital experience?

Heather: No experience is ever perfect or finished. Analyze it, test new ideas, and adapt it.

Jamie-Lee: Don’t guess your way to success. Use insights, data, and all of the information available to you to create experiences a fairy godmother would be proud of.

Quote from RBS International Digital Experience Lead, Jamie-Lee Riley

Question # 4: How do you sprinkle a touch of human into every digital experience?

Heather: I start by giving myself time to think about the purpose of the experience. What is the customer there to do and why? Then I usually do a rough build of any page(s) or draft any content, refine it, get the expertise of Customer Journey Managers and Product Managers to suggest builds and then re-ask myself whether it meets that purpose. It might sound like it’s done at this stage, but the nature of being human is sometimes defying expectations, so once any content is launched, I check the stats and look for opportunities to create improvements, test those against the original page build, and repeat.

Jamie-Lee: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you’re excited, happy, or have an emotive reaction to what you’re creating, then you’re most likely on the right track to creating an experience that speaks to your customers in the right way and meets their needs.

RBS International quote about digital experiences in Banking

Question # 5: What would be your CX magical power?

Heather: Harnessing the power of analytics to challenge mine and my stakeholder’s assumptions about what our customers are doing. There’s nothing better (and worse) than having a notion of what customers are doing and then checking attractiveness rates, journey analysis and good old page comparator stats in Contentsquare to be shown that your assumptions are wrong! Being led by data in this way and constantly challenging what good looks like is where the magics at for me.

Jamie-Lee: If I could have any magical power it would be to build the ultimate perfect experience. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in Digital it’s that you’re never, ever truly finished. Need and demand change and evolves continuously.

Question # 6: And because we can’t resist, who is your Disney alter ego?

Heather: Meiko the raccoon in ‘Pocahontas’. I too live for eating biscuits, make a good sidekick, and reveling in the use of my opposable thumbs in much the same way.

Jamie-Lee: Stitch, from Lilo and Stitch. OK, I know Stitch is a weird, blue, alien experiment (nothing like me) but like me, Stitch is never scared to try new things. I enjoy finding opportunities to learn something new or get involved in activities that push me outside of my comfort zone. But above all that, who doesn’t love a good boogie to an Elvis hit?

Want inspiration for your digital experience?  

Catch Heather and Jamie’s session at our popping Hybrid Champagne Breakfast event on February 24th, 2022. Sign up and join us in person at Hijingo, Shoreditch for plenty of free food and bottomless fizz… Or tune in from the comfort of home (and order your favorite morning treats 🥐☕️ on us!) 

Catch a glimpse of our unforgettable talks

Watch our Champagne Breakfast talks on-demand to learn how Ted Baker, VMLY&R and RBS International are humanizing digital CX.

Watch now