The word experience has gained significant traction over the past 15 years. Beginning with the mainstreaming of the term user experience in the software industry and, later, extended to the work of marketing professionals who began thinking about marketing as being experiential, the idea of experience as a focused professional area of endeavor is alive, well, and growing rapidly. However, the more our space grows, the more confused and chaotic is our collective understanding of the meaning of these terms. To try to help clarify this murkiness, I want to share my definitional model for the fields of experience and provide guidelines for the use of various terms.
Who am I to be providing these definitions? I believe my background uniquely suits me to presenting a holistic solution. During my career, I’ve spent at least a few years in each of the following professions: advertising executive, management consultant, product designer, and entrepreneur. I’ve thought in depth about the concept of experience and been professionally engaged in creating experiences from the product, marketing, and business viewpoints. I’ve worked on and written about things impacting experience as diverse as the restructuring of companies, the design of complex 3D environments, and the development of various forms of creation—ranging from software to marketing collateral. More, I’ve been actively involved in the thought leadership of these fields. My various board appointments include serving as President of the User Experience Network (UXnet) and as a Director of the AIGA Center for Brand Experience. To be honest, since I’ve understood these terms and their relationships for a long time, all of the professional confusion and conflict out there has been a source of perpetual frustration to me—ultimately providing the impetus for me to write this article. With that in mind, let me share the three core experience terms I advocate and show how they interact. Read More
Part One of this series introduced a design framework for meeting human needs and desires and defined five States of Being that represent the different degrees to which products and experiences affect and motivate people in their lives. This second part explains three Dimensions of Human Behavior, as well as specific needs and desires for which we can intentionally design products. The third and final part of this series will explore the relationships between different human needs and desires, talk about how designers can put this framework to use, and share some examples that will hopefully help make this approach of practical value to you. Read More
The design community keeps making a lot of noise about designing for people/users/customers. However, while this notion is well intentioned and even conceptually correct, I find much of it boils down to empty rhetoric. What exactly are we doing? More user research? More usability testing? Certainly these are valid approaches to finding out about people’s needs, but they’re only a small part of an optimal solution. Are we using hollow tasks and tools like personas and scenarios? Those approaches typically take design farther away from the people for whom we are designing products rather than closer. How about focusing on usability and the user experience? That gets at only part of the issue and tends to come from the perspective of the product—as opposed to the more universal needs and desires of actual people.
No. The methods most UX professionals typically use today are, at best, incomplete and, at worst, without any meaningful focus. There is not a successful, established approach and framework for closely linking the real-world needs and desires of our potential customers into the DNA of product strategy and development. Sure, there are various examples of the integration of users’ needs and product strategy being successfully accomplished in some cases, but they are more the outcome of clear vision and talented design than an intentional, strategic product architecture that really accommodates people’s needs. Read More