The proliferation of devices and emergence of social and mobile technologies over the past decade gave rise to a paradigm shift in our approach to crafting connected user experiences and forced us to look beyond conventional User Interface, and User experience (UI/UX) approaches to product/service design. The unprecedented consumerization of IT and information explosion also offers a wonderful opportunity for businesses to create well-curated and holistic digital experiences that deliver much more than mere functionality.
What is digital experience design?
Digital experience design is how you create, manage, and deliver engaging customer experiences using digital technologies across multiple channels and devices. The demand is to deliver consistent customer experiences with responsive content across all channels including website, mobile, and hybrid applications. Digital experience must also address the needs of connected, smart devices and create highly impactful, engaging, personalized, and empathetic experiences for all potential users and their interactions.
Difference between UI, UX, and digital experience design
Before we take a deep dive into digital experience design, it’s important to understand the differences between different design approaches.
- User Interface (UI) design focuses on visual elements such as images, colors, shapes, fonts, styles, placement, etc. to enhance the look and feel or in other words visual appeal or form.
- User Experience (UX) design focuses on functionality and related user interactions with an emphasis on ease of use and intuitive usability.
- Digital experience (DX) design is an overarching approach to craft holistic product experiences across a multitude of channels and devices using digital technologies. The emphasis is on delivering seamless omnichannel experiences with consistent form and functionality, tailored for context and role.
Key facets of digital experience design
Thanks to the tremendous advances in computing technologies, there is a sea change in how users interact with a product or service. This, in turn, has a domino effect on how we approach product design, right from conception to delivery. The emphasis has shifted from visual feel, typography, color schema, and basic functionality to fulfilling relevant context and role-based needs. Some of the key facets of digital experience design are briefly described below:
- An engagement-oriented design caters to the three dimensions of engagement (The Shape of Engagement) – Expression, Encounter, and Empowerment – i.e. the design must fulfill the mental, physical, and emotional needs of the customer, as they experience the product or service.
- Immersive experience is a fairly new concept in design, but catching on like wildfire. Immersive experience is creating illusory environments to make you feel that you are inside and part of something that exists only virtually. This experience is augmented through emerging technologies such as Virtual and Augmented reality (VR/AR), and AI.
- Device proliferation & Miniaturization: This is the age of connected devices & IoT. Continuous innovation in mobile technologies, device proliferation, and miniaturization has a huge impact with a demand to deliver seamless experiences that are flexible, responsive, and adaptable across a multitude of devices including handhelds, mobiles, and wearables.
- Task and role-based UI: With consumerization of IT, there is an increasing push to deliver an experience design that is personalized and enables different users to accomplish their tasks or functions with minimal effort.
- Intuitive design: There is a subtle, yet unmistakable shift in emphasis from making a product user-friendly to making the interaction intuitive and recognizable. In other words, the aim of the design is to create interactions that are easy to grasp and remember, and that in no time they will seem natural and intuitive without the need for either memorizing or elaborate instructions.
Businesses must understand the nuances of the disruptive landscape and adopt holistic design practices to continuously craft and deliver amazing customer experiences using digital technologies. There is a subtle, yet unmistakable need to create intuitive and realistic product designs and engaging digital experiences.