What is Experience Design?


 

Experience Design is also known as XD for short.  As Wikipedia states, Experience Design ‘…is the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, omni-channel journeys, and environments with a focus placed on the quality of the user experience and culturally relevant solutions.’  This differs from something called UXD, or User-interface Design which applies to how we use software and websites.  For the purpose of this blog post I will talk about designing an environment that may contain a service or products.

 

Most small to medium-sized organisations rarely think about Experience Design and instead focus solely on the physical products they sell.  Of course, this is time well spent but when you realise that every moment a customer spends trying to buy such products you see that this is only part of the story.  Everything a person sees, smells, touches, interacts with; or experiences influences how they feel about a product and the company selling it.

 

If everything that a customer sees, hears, touches, smells or tastes influences how they feel about a situation, experience or product it follows that we must look at the detail and make sure that every aspect is reading from the same page.  Aspects that don't contribute towards the same feel or story will only serve to confuse the message and possibly void all of the hard work gone into creating the offering.

 

Interaction within a space is also very important and I see this as a dimension to be looked at alongside the various senses.  As past blogs have talked about, getting people to interact with a space increases how far an offering can go.  However, it is also true that people can act in some very unexpected ways and they don't always behave or react as your plan expects.  For this reason, it is important to think about a space carefully and draw information from those  who are experienced with creating interactive spaces.

 

This factor also brings us to looking at the customer journey.  You may have created a shop space or museum exhibit with a certain customer journey in mind i.e. a customer enters through a door, looks at certain products, chooses a product, carries it to a till, pays for the item and leaves the store.  If you have experience with such journeys you may realise that only a minority may actually take the intended route and you may have to observe people using the space to actually optimise it to increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.  Of course, the journey of buying a product is a very simple one but if you add in a need to fill in a survey for example, things get more complicated.

 

If you get all of these aspects right and are able to adapt to things as they change over time you will be creating an experience that is both fulfilling and effortless for the majority of people.  As well as creating customers who are happy you will also be increasing the likelihood that they will be sharing their experience in person with friends and family as well as using social media to tell the outside world.