Justine Ragany Justine Ragany

Content director, collaborator and moderately sceptical of business speak. I’m here to support my team to do its best work. You'll also find me at every ideation meeting – creating strategies and content that get the right results for our clients.

Digital design: is it ready for the Experience Age?

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Welcome to a four-part series looking at how brands can ensure they are part of the Experience Age.

Part 2: What does the Experience Age look like for digital design?

“Design is where you express your imagination and imagination is the fundamental fuel of innovation and innovation is an asset no company can survive without today.” Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO of SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systemes, at the 2017 Design in the Age of Experience conference in Milan.

At Sonder, we believe great product design is no longer enough and brands need to move to experiences. When you link design, experience and your business plan, you can revolutionise the way your business engages with its customers.

Brands must prioritise experience. In the Experience Age, the value of CTAs is lost, gone. Instead, it is about delighting the viewer and massaging their internal triggers – how are they ‘feeling’ when they use a service? The right experience can create a positive emotional reaction that will reap rewards.

It’s more than just looking pretty. Apply empathetic design. Although primarily a process for product design by designers and engineers, the practice of observing customers rather than asking them pointed questions can change brand/customer relationships. The customer will feel their journey towards purchase is a far more intuitive one.

Traditionally, this has been through eye-tracking studies, card sorting and wireframes. In the Experience Age, empathetic design should be all about empathy mapping and prototyping.

Empathy mapping tracks the feelings that are surfacing while the decisions are being made, as opposed to what the triggers and decisions were. Let’s take it that every interaction in an individual’s life is governed by feelings. To respond properly, designers and ideators need to consider context. Knowing the ‘state of mind’ a person is key so the brand can deliver what the individual wants and needs at that precise moment.

The relevance and importance of wireframes has always been overplayed. It’s endemic of brands that prefer a push strategy to properly considering the customer experience, i.e. from the customer’s point of view. Wireframes will only demonstrate architecture, not user desire (admit it, they are just a load of boxes and circles to most people). When prototyping is instigated instead, the questions asked necessitate a pull strategy.

By applying these rules you can make a profound difference to your customers’ attitude and buying behaviours. This is crucial in differentiating yourself from competitors. For examples of brands that are doing just that, see part 4 of our series: What could the Experience Age look like for brands?

This feature is a true collaboration. It was inspired by Paul Gataaura’s attendance at FITC Amsterdam X, which he wrote about on Medium, the highlights were identified by Kirsty Spencer, who passed it on to Justine Ragany, who researched and styled it all up.

Everything at Made by Sonder is made by all of us. Makes what we do good (and fun).


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