Experience design (XD, or sometimes user experience design, UXD) is a design process that is centered around the customer experience. It expands upon human-computer interaction design practices by addressing all aspects of a product or service that will be accessed by a user. An XD approach centers the design process around what the experience will be like for the end user. Don Norman coined the term “user experience,” and helped bring the idea of designing for people’s experiences into the forefront of conversations around design. The idea of XD and focusing on the user experience has become more and more necessary when discussing digital products. In fact, some business schools, such as Hyper Island, have entire in-depth courses that train people in this design discipline.
Experience design is an iterative design process, which means that the process will repeat itself multiple times. This way of designing products means that first a prototype will be designed, then it will be tested. Based on these tests, designers will tweak the product and retest, with the steps repeating as often as necessary so the end result is entirely focused on users’ experiences. As an iterative process, XD includes extensive user research and usability testing. The user research should include both qualitative and quantitative research, and usability testing should include analysis of the visual design as well as the ability of users to successfully interact with the product with only a high level of knowledge on how it works. By allowing the process to go through several iterative cycles, organizations can make sure that the finalized product or service is truly designed for solving the problem that was originally identified.
Digital experience design takes these principles and applies them to digital spaces, such as online applications and services. The user interface design is especially important in the digital space, as an online program has a wider reach than one that is limited to only the machines it is installed on. Due to this wider availability, it is important that such programs are also designed to be accessible to the widest possible range of consumer. When designing for a digital space, organizations should ensure that the interaction design is also accessible to those with disabilities. For example, this might mean ensuring that the text is clear and easy to read for those with impaired eyesight, or that alt text is used to describe images for people using a screen reading program.
Experience design can help organizations by: