“Taking pretext from content published online by the UK Design Council, Peter Merholz, one of user-experience most authoritative professionals takes a clarification stand on the key differences between branding and experience design.
Though difficult to grasp at first, experience design is more about the kind of experience users actually have than about controlling the experience you try to give them.”
Merholz gave the talk at Chile’s first information architecture conference.
The presentation is based on two case studies — the development of the content strategy for the public site of the Wells Fargo Bank, with the goal of getting more people to apply online; and the redesign of the customer site for an unnamed financial services and planning firm with the aim of encouraging a deeper customer relationship — and highlights five major lessons learned.
You will need the audio recording in order for the presentation file to make sense. And vice versa.
The central premise of user-centred design is that the best-designed products and services result from understanding the needs of the people who will use them. User-centred designers engage actively with end-users to gather insights that drive design from the earliest stages of product and service development, right through the design process. Psychologist Alison Black gives an insight into how a user-centred approach can lead to innovative products and services that deliver real consumer benefit.
Experience design concentrates on moments of engagement between people and brands, and the memories these moments create. For customers, all these moments of corporate experience combine to shape perceptions, motivate their brand commitment and influence the likelihood of repurchase in the future. Brand experience has the power to engender a greater degree of empathy, trust and loyalty from both customers and employees. Ralph Ardill of the Brand Experience Consultancy gives an overview of how experience design delivers new insights into how brands are perceived.
Unfortunately the experience design section is strongly brand-focused and therefore company-centric, rather than people-centric, and the write-up is seriously criticised by Peter Merholz, president of Adaptive Path, in a reaction to this post entitled “Experience design is not about brands“: “For ‘experience design’ to truly succeed as a discipline, it will need to distinguish itself from brand strategy and design, and demonstrate its distinct value as a contributor to business. Unfortunately, the Design Councils attempt at definition simply muddles things further.“
Other sections that caught my eye:
- Roger Coleman explains how inclusive design ensures that goods, services and environments are accessible to more people.
- The ability of trends research to generate vital insights into customers’ and users’ future needs is making the practice increasingly important for all sectors. Trends expert James Woudhuysen explores the issues
- The UK services sector is growing, but service design and its management are often poorly planned, argues Bill Hollins. This article reveals how companies can gain competitive advantage by applying design techniques when creating and improving their services.
- Interaction design is the key skill used in creating an interface through which information technology can be manipulated, writes Nico Macdonald. As products and services are increasingly being created using information technology, interaction design is likely to become the key design skill of this century.
IDEA stands for Information: Design, Experience, Access and is a conference on designing complex information spaces of all kinds.
The IDEA 2006 conference, which takes place on 23 and 24 October at the Seattle Public Library, addresses issues of design for an always-on, always-connected world. Where “cyberspace” is a meaningless term because the online and offline worlds cannot be made distinct. Where physical spaces are so complex that detailed wayfinding is necessary to navigate them. Where work processes have become so involved, and so digitized, that we need new processes to manage those processes.
This conference brings together a diverse set of designers, creators, and researchers who are addressing these challenges head on. Speakers from a variety of backgrounds — including museum design, information visualization, librarians, environmental design, user research, engineering, interaction design, and product strategy — will discuss designing complex information spaces in the physical and virtual worlds.
The final programme features these speakers: Bruce Sterling; Linda Stone; Jake Barton (from Local Projects); Dave Cronin (from Cooper); David Guiney (from the National Park Service); Deborah Jacobs (the City Librarian for Seattle); Ed Vielmetti; Alison Sant; Ian White (from Urban Mapping); Mike Migurski (from Stamen); Fernanda Viegas (from IBM Research); Robert Kalin (from Etsy); Dan Hill (from the BBC); and Paul Gould (from MAYA Design).
The interview by GK VanPatter, founding partner of NextD, Humantific and UnderstandingLab, covers such issues as user experience design, anthropology, ethnography, condescension towards users, design as a community of knowledge, the “Dark Side of Design”, complexities, contradictions, paradoxes, the “Everyone is a Designer” movement, opportunity space and the challenges of voice advocacy.
Peter Merholz just alerted me to MKThink, an architecture firm which apparently has a resident anthropologist, who is getting the firm to move beyond standard architectural practice and to consider ethnography as a method toward constructing better built environments.
MKThink describes itself as the ideas company for the built environment which has a core strength in optimising the potential of the physical environment to serve human goals and aspirations.
On Monday 12 December the Information Architecture Institute organises a workshop entitled “User Interfaces for Physical Spaces“, where you can learn all about how, in “working with the Carnegie Library to understand how digital, physical, and human aspects of the library converge, MAYA developed an information architecture that gives the library a framework not only for a single renovated space, but also for system-wide organisational change and ongoing evolution.”
(Thanks, Peter Merholz, for pointing this out to me).