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What the heck is Experience Design

"Do you also look at other experiences, not just the experience of the customer?"

I was asked this whilst interviewing a potential candidate to come on board my company. What struck me was throughout the interview, I mentioned the customer's experience as a pillar, however not once did I mention that in order to deliver a great customer experience, we needed to look at all other experiences to deliver it.

Although the question at that interview was a turning point, it has been a challenge I've thought of throughout my career: yes, the customer experience is important, but what about the other experiences? In essence, I was thinking about Experience Design, where Customer Experience is just one dimension.

But what are the other dimensions in "Experience Design"? Does everything really just revolves around the customer? I don't believe so and in an effort to explain this, let's go through it visually.

The Customer and User Experience

Nothing new here - a company exists to deliver something of value to their customers, and the aim here is to receive something of perceived value in return from the customer (e.g. money). Most of my colleagues in the CX community understand this and we work towards creating experiences that supplements the delivery of the product and/or service, working both on tangible and intangible experiences. User Experience (UX) works here too, especially in the digital domain and how the user experiences digital offerings from the company. Both CX and UX complements each other: from the interactions when purchasing the product / service, to using the product / service until end of life.

Is that all? Are they all the experiences you should consider? Well, not quite. If you look carefully at the "Your Company" box, do you see those people in your company (the one smiling in the picture above)? What if they were not smiling? What if they feel like crap and slip up? Would that impact the CX and UX?

This leads to the next dimension for Experience Designers to consider...

The Employee Experience

Let's face it: unless you run a business completely devoid of other humans running it and it is just robots, chances are you have a person working for you. If you don't take care of your employees and provide them with a good experience working for your company, you'll see that resentment flow through both your customer and user experience.

Experience Designers need to also highlight the Employee Experience component, to ensure whatever product or services designed for the customer can be delivered by the employees and they have all the right levels of support and empowerment to deliver it.

At this stage, I can say that getting at least these 3 elements right (Customer Experience, User Experience and Employee Experience) is a great start and even suffice to say is a great foundation to be in. However, there are other dimensions to consider if an Experience Designer wants to be holistic...

The Partner Experience

Most organisations have Partners / Suppliers providing them with either the necessary inputs to help the company deliver value, or in some cases deliver the product / services to the customers directly on behalf of the company.

Experience Designers need to factor Partners / Suppliers since they have potentially both a direct or indirect impact on the customer. For example, if the experience of doing business with your company is difficult (e.g. missed invoice payments), then your Partners / Suppliers may look else where to do business or deliver a poor experience to your customer. Your Partners / Suppliers have a bad time, they may leave to go to your competitors, and ultimately that will impact the experience you've designed for your customers.

Now, there is one final dimension to consider, and of late it is starting to emerge...

The Public Experience

As a society, we often look at the way products and services are being developed and delivered, and see if they have a positive or negative impact on society as a whole. Here is where designing a great customer, user and partner experience is important as the public is assessing the way your company deliver these experiences. But Public Experience also looks at how your product and services impact society as a whole. Is it ethical? Does it promote good societal values? Is it going to impact the environment negatively?

Experience Designers looking at the whole ecosystem of "experiences" need to consider the Public Experience for the product / services they design.

This encompasses the brand experience as a whole, and with that Experience Designers should consider designing the Collective Experience.

This is just an exploration of what Experience Designs means to me and my company, as I believe that although Customer Experience is important, the other dimensions of experiences also warrants focus. Although I haven't gone through the methods of achieving this, however most Experience Designers can use existing tools and techniques to define these.

So next time you're designing that interface, or the ergonomics of a new product, think about the other experiences surrounding that product / service you're designing, and you'll find that by considering them you're designing something of greater value to more people other than just your customer.

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