As designers who cater for experiences in the UX or service design fields, the levels of understanding we need to acquire will only increase as technology will allow us to do more, with more speed and with more societal ramifications. Ensuring we factor in the design principle of forgiveness would be a good place to start in this increasingly turbulent time of technological flux.
UX has afforded us another way to look at the world. It deals with the microelements of an experience – down to the button colour, dimensions, placement and tone of copy used. The appreciation of these details that can ruin an otherwise perfect product is enough to make this work worthwhile. We make things work better - a critical aspect of successful design.
This micro view of the constituent parts that make up an experience is of course a part of the overall spectrum, and where the six circles paint the larger picture. But an appreciation of the other disciplines that contribute to a person’s view of a brand, product or service make us more rounded and appreciative when doing UX work.
The other key parts to the experience design process, the macro view of a customer experience made by service designers for example, are an essential part of the complex inter-relationships that experience design involves. Realising that many of us strive to achieve the same goals is important. It helps to keep the design community strong and inhibits yet more divergence in our thinking and overall goals of creating cohesive cross-channel experiences.
The context of one’s experience with different types of interaction is subject to change and inevitably defines an experience in different ways. For example, mobile devices allow connectivity, communication and freedom of movement. Add a camera, and the previous interaction of making a phone call becomes a magical experience of seeing a face move with their voice.
The importance of designing for context is at the heart of experience design and certainly will become more important as the complexity of our world grows and the quest for simplicity becomes the most important goal for many businesses.
Many creative design agencies are realising that UX and the traditional disciplines of communication and strategic planning need to play well together to define solutions. Unsurprisingly both need each other to ensure the creation of ecosystems have the appreciation of brands and products at their core, and that the different contextually designed experiences are well considered and perfectly executed.
UX cannot do it all alone, and more importantly should not. The cross-disciplinary team will always trump like-minds. The six circles is a basis for a team’s methodology with different skill-sets and backgrounds, and is wide enough to allow variations in skills but a common agreement towards the importance of these factors. The six circles should be seen as a series of lenses to view a problem space and help define the solutions dependent on context that the solution should exist in.
A team may encompass the roles of a marketing person with a grasp of the brand, a person who understands the behaviours of people either from an analytical or psychological sense. A person who has visual design ability is critical, perhaps (if you are lucky) with a sound understanding of interface usability and interaction design factors. Finally, a person who can communicate the content or convey the social object in a way that is instantly engaging to the user.
Already you may have 6 people to conduct this experience design job, but it needs this commitment from companies to have the force ready and able to execute on the user-centred solutions that have been researched in the discovery phase. The buzz-word of the boardroom – innovation should occur in an environment that allows it to flourish and with the right ingredients for it to happen.
People’s application to a task using an agreed point of reference is critical to success. SCRUM is no better than Waterfall, for it is the culture of a company that helps define which method is most successful for their specific situation. The people define the success, not the process. The industrial way of thinking about creating products as if on a production line no longer works.
We need to remember how to look inwards, to reflect and realize our creative potentials and produce meaningful and valuable products again. Create value by realizing what others find valuable. Innovate by executing on the ideas that arise from research.
Experience design allows us to see these facts and to make business wake up to them. It is in some ways a reboot on staid industrial thinking. Let’s remember what makes us human and create products and services that people need and want. Simple ‘delight’ will only take us halfway, but being deliberate in our solutions will establish a lasting logical legacy.
I hope you have enjoyed this ebook, the observations and the areas that fit within an experience design practice framework.
Follow me on twitter @jameskelway for more musings around the Six Circles.