Experience Design as connected ecosystems
By Nádia Carmo
The main goal at Bond Touch is connecting people emotionally while interacting in both digital and physical worlds. Our brand and product purpose is to bridge the gap between relationships that are experiencing any sort of distance. Both brand and product hope to lead the way in helping people achieve happier and healthier relationships.
So people and relationships are the centers of everything we do, every problem we try to solve, and any story we want to tell. Because we believe that we can make human connections richer by solving their Experience problems. Real connections between people matter to us. And real connections between us and our audience are paramount.
We want people to experience the brand and/or the product, across all touchpoints and connect. Every touchpoint should be enjoyable, relatable, and consistent.
Experience types throughout the Design ecosystems
In Richard Buchanan’s framework, Orders of Design, each ‘order’ provides a different type of experience. But after so many years working in Design in several roles and fields, I came to the conclusion that these Orders weren’t rigid, quite the opposite: they behave more like a living organism, that grows and adapts to every iteration, need, or problem. Therefore, I’ve renamed it Design Ecosystem.
We mapped four Design Ecosystems: Brand, Product, Digital, and Communication, which respectively provide Value, Emotional, Interactional, and Perceptual experiences.
The Brand Ecosystem includes and leads the others. This means, if we begin by defining the brand, the others will follow its guidance. Here, we should establish the ground values and guidelines to guarantee a consistent experience across all ecosystems.
Product is next. The physicality of the products enhances the human and emotional factor to the experience, make it realistic and closest to the user.
Within the Digital Ecosystem, technology and tools potentiate better interactions and a more connected world. This ecosystem tends to solve problems related to actions and habits.
At its core is the perceptional experience: the Communication Ecosystem. Content and storytelling are the keys to a better engagement allowing the brand to speak, behave, and reveal its personality and character.
This echo of the Design Ecosystem is supported by different Design fields, such as Brand Design, Product Design, Industrial Design, Fashion Design, Service Design, UX Design, Digital Product Design, Graphic/Motion Design, and Visual Design.
Experience Life Cycle towards the Design viewpoint
The Experience Life Cycle is a roadmap, tracing the multi-stepped journey our audience must take on their road to become loyal customers and brand/product advocates.
This journey is an ascending spiral: it begins every time the customer rediscovers the brand or product, and leads them one step at a time, constantly transforming their relationship with it. Within the cycle, all Design Ecosystems are interconnected. Each step emphasizes a different type of experience, the one most relevant for the journey at that moment.
It allowed us to identify Marketing’s customer journey.
The Experience Life Cycle starts with an audience, for whom we’re communicating. Here they discover the brand or the product and start formulating a first impression. If Marketing and Visual Design work side by side, that first impression can build a strong, coherent, and engaging foundation of the brand values, behavior, and personality.
At some point, if the perception is positive, this will start the consideration phase which could lead to the decision to acquire the product: our future customer has become a prospect.
If they buy the product or subscribe to a service, the customer engages in an onboarding phase and starts the learning curve of how to use the product or service. Here the time span will vary accordingly with the product logistics’ structure or service complexity.
The customer becomes a user when their daily or weekly usage is invisible, transparent, and effortless. At this point, Product Design, Interaction, and Interface Design should be solving problems by applying a human-centered approach to evaluate human behavior and create something that is relevant and impactful in people’s lives.
Eventually, this will lead to a new product, a new release, or a relevant update. Either way, it’s a critical moment on our customer and user journey: a harmful impact could mean they stop using the product or leave the brand. On the other hand, a positive note could lead to the rediscovery of brand values and/or product enthusiasm.
As Bruno Munari taught us the importance of observation, Paul Rand showed us the value of continuous experimentation. Charles and Ray Eames made us focus on people and their experiences with the objects in daily life.
What we have done here is simply a continuation of the life work and lessons of these great masters of design: making sure that throughout the customer’s journey, designers and design thinkers are trying to problem-solve with empathy, humility, and creativity.
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