Return to index

The six circles represent a way to understand how a product, software app, designed object or space really can be seen through six different aspects from an experience design perspective. The principles highlighted are those that have importance with regard to the quality of the end product – whatever it may be.

My personal reason for putting this much energy into cataloguing all of this was to try and ensure I had some framework for my experience design work. I am a designer, first and foremost, usability, analytics, business development and design management were the skills that fell on top of my core need to be able to design something that a client requested.

This way of looking at experience design is personal and many may disagree with it. But from my perspective to be fully aware of how to make the best products needs an appreciation of these critical areas. But not only to know they are there but also to see the important principles that are well trodden paths to success.

The clamour of business to embrace UX in 2011 has been interesting to observe and I feel there is a great opportunity for businesses to make what they produce achieve excellence and affect many more people. But there is also the back lash of those who feel user centred design is a fallacy and a waste of time and effort.

To those I say you cannot make something for those you know nothing about and assume you will be successful. We no longer have the luxury of launching products that fail to sell, or services that do not work, businesses that flounder because of poor testing, assumptions or process blindness. UX is a way to truly understand your customers, users or employees. Without that understanding we will repeat the same mistakes that businesses have made throughout the last 20 years.

UX can combine many different disciplines to make something truly special. Ignoring this really is no longer an option. There is a pressing need on us to do things better, make things smarter and more efficiently. The industrial age is coming to a close. UX represents the intersection of where technology meets the human being, designing for people and not solely producing for consumption.

The Six Circles - an Experience Design framework

The Six Circles - an Experience Design framework

Of the six themes within the framework, the first is persuasion that sits on the periphery of the six themes. Persuasion is core to the advertising industry and marketing profession. Good examples of this seen in our society affects our behaviour, Very often tacitly from experiences we have had in our past only held within our memory but still affecting how we interact with the world. Behaviour is the natural outcome from the cause of persuasive elements.

The third theme is visual design - the first tangible layer that we see, and come into contact with. As human beings it is how we are hard-wired to make decisions. It is a part of our genetic and biological make up and beneath that lies usability. This is the enabler for meaningful interaction, without usability the interactions that we have with the object will be without merit and will produce a negative effect – resulting in a bad experience.

Interaction is the doorway to the content. The ability to feel, touch and gain feedback to the ‘thing’ you wanted to get to in the first place. Content in this series has been described as the textual material we find within websites. But of course content can be anything to anybody. Music, art, film, an object or a product could sit at the core of the other five themes within the framework. In many ways it is the object that attracts a user or users to gather around, share and interact with.

These six areas I feel represent the core of experience design. For each project I try to put the lense of each over what I am trying to achieve. I hope if nothing more it provides a different way to look at the work of design in general, and specifically those involved in the UX field. I hope the readers of

this book take inspiration from the many different observations here.

User flow (user pathways) have become so important to the experience of a site (and even more in an application) that they go beyond standard best practices. Their difficulty to architect for, gives rise to the book’s purpose – to form the basis of a contextually based design framework that can be used in UX design problems. This framework defines the work we do as user experience professionals and the effectiveness of the designs we produce.