Experience design

I am an avid Disney fan. We go to DisneyWorld at least once a year, but often twice a year. It’s always a different and yet magical experience. I hear a great deal about “experience design” these days, and I enjoyed seeing Disney called out as a prime example of using experience design (in their roll out of magic bands) in Jared Spool’s UIE article, “Figuring Out Your Design Decision Style“. He talks about other common design decision styles, such as self design or research-grounded design, which I think are still more common than experience design. (Spool had previously published in November 2014 a separate article called “Beyond the UX Tipping Point” that gave even more details about the Disney Magic Bands.)

From a technical communicators perspective, it is interesting to think about designing or architecting an information experience. In this case, you consider the before, during, and after interactions with your content. Every piece of content, be it for a web site, a marketing brochure, a user interface, an error message, a tutorial, or a knowledge base article, needs to consider the users and their entire experience of using that content. Before coming to the tutorial, what other information will they most likely have encountered? While using the tutorial, what other information might they have to refer to? When they have completed the tutorial, what source of information might they consult next?

Content strategy has to focus on experience design thinking. Information architecture needs to think about it on the macro- and micro-level. Dare I even suggest that technical editors need to bring these contexts into their realm, to help deliver clear, concise, but ultimately usable content that delivers a delightful information experience? No matter where technical communicators are in the content design and delivery processes, we must begin thinking about experience design.

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