User experience : What is design ?
Before approaching the user experience, we will look into the term “Design” which is often confused with “conception” or “style” and “aesthetics“. It is a mistake that can be explained by picturing of a visual graphic representation.
A comtemporary German industrial designer named Dieter Rams who for 30 years worked at Braun, has developed 10 principles for a good design:
- A good design is innovative
- A good design makes the product usefull
- A good design is aesthetically pleasing
- A good design makes the product understandable
- A good design is discreet
- A good design is honest
- A good design is sustainable
- A good design pays attention to details
- A good design respects the environment
- A good design has as little design as possible
The designer should first focus on identifying the issue, which will make him/her able to innovate with the solution. A new method named design thinking has emerged to help find the beste solutions to design issues. This approach takes the user’s experience into account to guarantee the solution is innovative.
Design is a problem-solving discipline
Experience in design
Experience can be defined as the perception of a user. It may be varied since the perception will change as the user gets more familiar with the tool. And there also are other factors involved. The mood of the moment and the conditions of use change the perception. The feeling of the moment can affect patience or the degree of tolerance.
User tests let participants share their impressions. Interestingly though, some difficult tasks are sometimes not perceived as negative experienes. The whole challenge for a designer lies in designing an interactive product that focuses not on the product but on the proposed experience of a general journey and its lasting impact on the user. In short, the memory the user will retain after the experience is over.
According to Marc Hassenzahl, we do not design the experience but design for the experience
User experience design is a process of searching, imagining, designing, creating, testing and optimizing. It can involve several different trades (graphic designers, art directors, project managers, developpers, etc…) to lake a digital product or service.
Where is this user-centered approach today ?
The multiplication of terminals gives experience a central place. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has a ripple effect in the progression of websites and applications. Even our televisions, which are a classic house appliance, are now connected to the internet. ATMs and iterative terminals are also connected devices that are becoming commonplace and which can be seen in a wide aray of locations: shopping malls, train stations, airports, gas station, banks… We also see the rise of connected objects in the home with watches, alarm clocks, smoke detectors…
The border between the real and the virtual is getting thinner. Indeed, purchasing can now be done virtually on the internet or in real life by going to the store. Additionally, the arrival of social networks has contribued to a bahavioral change.
Distinguish the point of contact, channel, terminal and interaction in an increasingly complex environment
The multiplication of digital devices increases the level of complexity of our interactions. It is best to define the role of the touchpoint in the user’s journey rather than trying to figure how to make a website or an application. In the user experience, this approach integrates expectations and changes in the person’s time. The service design approach represents the device as a point of contact in a journey.
There are several different parts to the user’s experience :
- The point of contact : a brochure, a touch screen, a receipt…
- The channel : internet, a store, a call center…
- The terminal : a website, a mobile application…
- Interaction : purchase, printing, sending a message, a consultation…
The importance of the service provided
A service can be defined as an event that helps in the completion of something. It allows to solve a problem, act as a facilitator or give added value.
Among the types of services, there are :
- Help services “I can help you”
- Services that bring you more “Here is a free sample”
- Troubleshooting services “We are fixing it with ease”
Generally, a user will talk about his/her positive exprerience 3 times, while he/she will share a negative experience one 17 times.
The service’s systems and processes are the subject of service design studies. You can see the many forms they can take at http://www.servicedesigntools.org
What is the bridge experience in the user experience design ?
In user experience design, degital devices are very rarely used in isolation. To achieve a single goal, users will successively solicit multiple points of contact. The presentation of information, the organization, the naming, succession of tasks, etc., must work in a coordinated and synchronized manner. This approach is named the bridge experience.
It is fashionable in the user experience design aproach to treat the user as a guest. He needs recognition, looks for pleasure and can enjoy surprises. Therefore, the challenge for the designer is to create a pleasant experience and to offer the user comfort and enjoyment.
Designers cannot predict or prevent every single issue. Nevertheless, anticipating issues helps reduce the number ans scope of these issues.
Limit the impact by anticipating problems and improve user experience
Let’s take the example of cell phone theft. In 2010, statistics showed there had been 250,000 thefts over the year . This amount to 200 customers having their cell phone stolen every day without any system being set up or planned by the operators to reduce the inconvenience. Without pretending that preventing theft is possible, it is still possible to serve and accompany those who have been affected, and improve their user experience.
Create emotion, charm the user and change behavior
In an exploration phase, user experience design attemps to identify ways to create emotion and charm the user. That is, identify friction points, tenions and levers in order to solve them. Once this step is complete, it is possible to create systems to modify behaviors and solve a problem. For example, helping users better manage their money, travel, food, health…
Our consumer society, founded largely on goods, will continue to see growth in the service industry. There are purchases of subscriptions for services like Deezer, Netflix, Dropbox… Community sharing in the collaborative industry for people who buy fewer and fewer vehicles and prefer renting or carpooling.
Transform a product into a service
Because the experience offered by the service is essential, some compagnies, like the German agency Nouve (http://nouve.de) have developed the concept of transforming products into services.
Studies by Thomas Gilovich, Leaf Van Boven and Travis J. Carter, published in 2003 and 2010, have shown that a purchase that leads to an experience is more rewarding than the purchase of a material good. The experience of the concert gives more happiness than the purchase of stereo equipment… This gives us a better understanding of the decline of record sales.
Experience design beyond the digital aspect
Experience is a part of your daily lives. Even though the user experience has emerged and spread to improve the interaction between humans and the machines, the approach can be applied to many tangible devices. It can be used to organize the flow of travelers, set up workstations, support medical equipment, etc.
The experience design approach or UX Design approach aims to improve the experience by anticipation the needs and having an innovative approach. It is a way to rethink activities to give them more value meaning once completed.
To go further…
DAUMAL Sylvie. In : Design d’expérience utilisateur principes et méthodes UX: PRINCIPES ET METHODES UX [Online] Paper book format available in French on : < https://amzn.to/3aKFrS1 >