How to design an experience?
You may have the most beautiful and well-made product, interface or website, but if the experience the user has, when interacting with it, is not pleasant, it doesn’t matter. In a sense, experiences are everything. So, how do we create great experiences that drive engagement with the end-users? We will look into that in the following.
Experience is everything
Experience design is all about creating meaningful and purposeful experiences for the users, whether it’s a physical product, a website or an interface. It has to provide a delightful and memorable experience for the users.
In order to learn how to design meaningful experiences, a fundamental understanding of what a good experience actually is, is required. To illustrate that, here are two examples.
Example of good experience design
A prime example of good experience design is something we all know and use; Google. But why is that? And why is Google the most used search engine by far? A lot of it has to do with the experience design. It’s simple, intuitive and easy to use for anyone, regardless of technical knowledge. All you have to do is type what you want to search for and press Enter. Google delivers exactly what promised, which is probably why the search engine hasn’t changed much in over 20 years.
Example of poor experience design
On the other hand, a good example of poor experience design can be found in a lot of today’s new cars. Most modern cars have large, beautiful screens in the dashboard, instead of old-fashioned buttons. Everything is integrated into the screen. Climate control, heated seats, radio etc. However, even though the screen is beautiful and advanced, interacting with a touch screen may not always be the best solution when operating a motor vehicle. Instead, buttons, for at least some of the controls, would be easier to use and interact with. The experience would be more pleasant and less frustrating – and safer.
How to design purposeful experiences?
Now that we know what a good and poor user experience is, it’s time to take a closer look at how to actually design an experience.
First of all, when designing an experience, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that the end goal is not merely to solve the problem that the users have, but also to provide a pleasant and meaningful experience while solving it.
Minimize noise and distractions
One way of enhancing the user experience, is to minimize noise and distractions. Think about all the interactions that the users have with the product – are they necessary? If not, remove them. Just like Google; keep it simple. Also, remember to have the users in mind at all time. Instead of thinking “what can we create?” think “what do the users want and need?”. The experience design should always be centred on the end-user. Therefore, knowing your users, and their needs, is key.
This goes for all your users – not just a percentage.
Focus on universal design
You should always strive to design experiences that are accessible and inclusive for all your users – regardless of cognitive, physical and visual capabilities. Accessible and inclusive design is also known as ‘universal design’. Universal design has been shown to enhance the experience of all users, not just those with special needs.
Test, test, test
Last, test everything. You might recall the issues Apple had with the reception of their iPhones a few years back. They told their users that they were holding the phone wrong. But the truth is that the design was wrong. Design faults like that, should be avoided by testing the product firmly. It is your job as an experience designer, to take into account all the different ways your product may be used. Once you’re done testing, analyse the results and make the necessary improvements before launch.
Learn experience design
Being able to create meaningful experiences are more important than ever before. Having skills within the fields of experience design can take you a long way, regardless of your line of business and type of organisation.
It is possible to teach yourself experience design. However, taking a course is a more effective way to earn the knowledge you need to be able to enter the area of experience design.
At Kaospilot, a reputable business and design school, you have the opportunity to learn how to lead and facilitate design processes, in the school’s recognized course, Experience Design. In this three-day course, you will get a modern toolbox with facilitation methods and design mindsets to create engaging experiences. You will get acquainted with areas such as Meaningful Experience Design, Purpose Driven Development, Lean Design Approach and Engagement Strategies.
The course is for anyone who want to be more confident in leading design processes and explore how experience design can level up your offerings.