Thursday, June 20th 2013
|Our case studies|
Creating a great experience from a complex idea
There are always at least two parties to cater for when exploring user experiences. The first and most obvious is the customer. What do they want? What do they need? (Not always the same) How will they judge or benchmark the success or failure of their experience with the site? The other less often thought of party is the client. Again, what do they want? What do they need and how will they judge the success or failure of their digital project?
So do you look for a User experience designer, Experience Architect or Experience consultant? The juggling becomes a bit more complex when you realise that the terminology around the creation of the ‘experience’ is used in may different ways. How does an experience architect differ from a user experience designer? In truth the difference is down to the language used in that particular environment at that particular time. Creating a positive, enjoyable ‘Experience’ is the goal regardless of the accompanying pre-noun or post-noun. That’s what the Media Practice is good at.
An experience can be fine tuned by looking at the problem from any one of four specific viewpoints, each of which has its place. How we approach a project will depend on the underlying requirements. In turn, but in no particular order, we’ll look at a project from the following positions.
Information design: Turning complex data into enlightening information. With any website the task of organising vast amounts of information into accessible logical chunks is key to enabling users to absorb the information presented. How we organise information hierarchies, logical branching, add hyperlinks and cross reference information can lift the experience from one akin to reading a dictionary cover to cover to an experience more like consulting a trusted advisor.
Design: Developing pleasing visual environments. We all experience that immediate impression of quality or excitement, or lack thereof when visiting a new website. It’s no longer enough to just provide information, the online design vocabulary has gone way beyond that. Whatever your product and whoever your audience, they’ll have personal sites they consider to be benchmarks. Catering for the needs of the user, the requirements of the information and branding influcences create ideas that go towards developing those new design benchmarks.
Research: Retrospective or pro-active analysis. Sometimes it’s easy to see what’s working or what’s not with a website. In other cases we just know there’s something that we can’t put a finger on; which is where research comes in. Either by using observational testing, user tracking and analytics or simple vox-pop or electronic questionnaires we can ask the questions of an existing or new design that helps fine-tune and polish the user experience. At a minimum we’ll analyse the competition, where the online space is competitive it pays to have a more formal study to inform our own designs.
Systems: Making complex functionality, simple. We all know how to go into a shop to purchase an item but breaking that process down into the requisite number of validating actions that are needed is more complex. Where we require user information that we then have to use for delivery the balance is always struck between what we have to ask, what we can assume and what can be deduced. How we use that information once captured to enable proactive interactions can make all the difference between a site that’s pleasing to use and one that’s just annoying.
When we look at an interactive design that will evolve into an experience the previous four points are never far from our consideration. Take a look at some of our case studies to see how we put this expertise into practice.