What is Experience Design?

What is Experience Design?

It is tempting to break up and package (user) experience design into smaller subcategories to limit their scope, but is that truly reflective of how we experience the world? Or do our experiences extend into the physical world, the digital world, and the intersection of these worlds?

The Tourist

Let’s say you’re a tourist that just landed in Turkey and you don’t know a lick of Turkish. All you’ve got on you is your phone in one hand, and your suitcase in the other. The first step in your journey to your reserved room begins with trying to find the exit. Your path (user flow) from the passport control counter (registration) to the exit is made clear due to efficient wayfinding and markers (navigation map). You can tell you’re going the right way from the green signs on your path. You don’t know what the signs say but you intuitively know that the signs are leading you towards the exit (legibility).

Now you’ve come across a new sign, it’s also in green but this one reads “giriş”. You’re no longer sure if you’re going the right way. What do you do? Well, you’re tech-savvy so you take out your phone and open up the Google Translate app, You open up the photo translation tool (augmented reality) and learn that “giriş” actually means entrance. You at least know that you’ve been following the correct signage.

You arrive at the cab booth. You try to explain to the driver where your Airbnb is but the driver can’t understand you, so you open the Airbnb app. Since the app is easy to understand and navigate through (digital, and user experience), you’re quickly able to show him where you need to go. Turns out you were simply mispronouncing the name of the street. Now you’re on your way to your new room after a long trip to finally begin your epic journey.

Experience and Implications

You see, your experience isn’t limited to your phone, nor is it limited to your physical reality, but rather your experiences are all extensions of previous experiences. Had you not had the right applications, the right intuitive knowledge, and the right resources, your entire trip might have ended up being a frustrating experience. Our experience begins from the moment we wake up, to the moment we fall asleep, and they continue through our slumber.