If you think effective design is just about getting the Pantone colors right and knowing your jpegs from your pngs, think again. Designing something that looks good is one thing. Creating something that people enjoy using again and again, that genuinely engages, and achieves the intended outcomes – that’s a whole different ball game. And one you might find referred to as ‘experience design’ or XD.
So, what actually is experience design?
Today, users aren’t just judging your products and services but the entire experience they have with your brand. Experience design is where insight and strategy comes together with creative. It’s design that goes far beyond just how things look and focuses on what people want at every touchpoint. Does the in-store experience match up with the quality of the product? Are users going to be satisfied throughout their journey? Will they want to keep engaging with your brand? Experience design incorporates behavioral data to create things that are much more likely to make people happy – and want to interact, use and buy again.
How does experience design differ from UX?
Experience design runs deeper than just your website, app or product and covers the overall brand experience across all channels and environments. It takes into account all of the different ways people interact with your processes, services and interfaces to design pre and post-purchase experiences that shine – and convert users into loyal customers. Take Benefit Cosmetics, for example. They do it brilliantly. From their awesome branded stores and quirky product packaging, to their boat takeovers and popular social media activity, every touchpoint on their customer journey is an experience. Or, in their case, an adventure.
But does it work?
It’s safe to say that experience design drums up powerful results. In an increasingly time-precious world, where every click, swipe and tap is a step in the user journey, frustrating or disappointing experiences are a sure way to disengage customers and wave goodbye to repeat business. Positive experiences trigger our emotions and memories which, in turn, boosts brand loyalty. Putting people at the center of design and taking every touchpoint into consideration sparks greater satisfaction. And greater satisfaction leads to greater sales. You only have to look at how design-led companies like Nike, Coca-Cola and IBM have outperformed competitors in the S&P 500 index by 219% to see that.
It’s just for creative agencies, right?
Wrong. Design is a powerful tool for solving problems and discovering the new. As such, many businesses are putting design first and using experience design to create brand experiences that are remembered for all the right reasons. So, here are four key takeaways that you can start applying to your work today:
What’s the problem that needs to be solved? Pinpoint it. Understand it. Write it down. Defining this will be invaluable in helping you find the right solution and measure effectiveness more easily.
Don’t be afraid to question. To explore new opportunities. To think bigger. That’s one of the key things businesses can learn from designers. If you approach problems the same way every time, you’ll get the same results. Always embrace different perspectives too – the best answers often come from five people working on a problem for one day, rather than one person for working on it for five days.
Good ideas become great when they’re nurtured, tested and refined. How well does the solution stand up when interrogated against the brief? Will it solve that key problem? Here’s where insights and data can become super helpful in making sure that your ideas will hit the right notes with all the right people.
All agreed on a winning solution? Then it’s time to roll it out. At the end of this stage, your problem should be solved – or well on its way. And, the depth of this four-step method means that when it comes to execution, you should feel assured that the solution will glean brilliant results.
Want to know more about experience design and how we blend together insights, data and awesome creative to shape solutions that grab attention and exceed expectations? Let's talk. We’d love to hear from you.