Why We Design ‘Experiences’

Here at Ebb & Flow we are passionate about creating beautiful ‘experiences’ for the people we work with, and the end users that then engage with our client’s products and brands.  But in this context, what does the term ‘experiences’ mean? It’s a constant struggle to try and explain to people what ‘experience design’ is, and how it can benefit their business. We are often met with confused glances and somewhat skeptical eyebrow lifts “hmmm…all sounds a little bit airy fairy if you ask me…”.

Too often people get caught up in trying to make new designs flashy, they forget to look at how effective their design is in solving the simple reason the customers are coming to the site, or buying the product in the first place.  They get obsessed with designing the ‘What’.  ‘What’ am I designing? Say for instance this is a website – they’ll look at what’s out there, what their competitors are doing,  and want high end photography, fancy animations, a flying pig that wizzes across the page and oinks when you click on a call to action…… This is all well and good, but if you are not solving the basic question or need that the user came to your site for, then no matter how wizz bang the site looks, you’ll lose your audience.

The most successful brands to date have been so because they have never lost sight of what their product offering is trying to achieve. The ‘Why’ their users are coming to their site, or buying their products. ‘Why’ are these customers engaging with my brand? We think this article by Todd Olsen over on https://medium.com/ sums it up beautifully:

“Design thinking is not focused on making things look attractive or trendy. Rather, it is focused on gaining an understanding of an area of human experience and then developing a product, service, or process that improves that area of experience for many people, often empowering people in new ways. Visual appearance is only the most superficial layer of that experience. New technologies can expand the universe of possible design solutions, but it is empathy with people in their actual daily lives that is essential to great design”

A company who has successfully placed a huge emphasis on the importance of experience design is Apple. As Todd’s article quotes:

“Apple does not deliver technology to consumers; it designs experiences, then finds the right technologies to deliver those experiences.”  

Has your focus on ‘What’ it is your offering, overshadowed the ‘Why’? If so, it might be time to take 5 minutes, sit down with a cuppa and start asking yourself some simple questions.

Read the full article by Todd Olsen “Disruption by Design” https://medium.com/@toddols/disruption-by-design-85f55c81f85e