David Lee King: Designing the Digital Experience

David Lee King : Designing the Digital Experience.

“This is my book, in a presentation.  Nine months of my life boiled down to 30 minutes.”

We’re moving into an Experience Economy.  People, in a world of plenty, don’t want just goods, they want goods and services, and they want those services to include experiences.  The American Girl Place experience is a good example:  You can go to a musical, get your hair done with your doll, have tea with your doll, and GameBoys that you can borrow for the non-doll afficionados (like little brothers).  Another example:  Harley Davidson’s “experience” page online.  Includes events, tours, videos, etc.  It’s a guided experience that includes no reference to actually buying a Harley.  It’s abotu what you do after you buy.

So, three paths to designing a digital experience.

A structured path.

  • Create a better experience by creating better ease of use.  A well-designed experience should just stay out of the user’s way.  You need to focus on the success of the user.
  • Jesse James Garret: The Elements of User Experience.  Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, Surface.
  • David Armano, darmano.typepad.com.  Uncover the customer, brand, and business, Define the experience strategy, Ideate immersively, Build, Design the experience.
  • Getting Real by 37signals.  They say don’t do functional specs, just start building.  Focus on the experience brief, not the planning documents.  Put in the basics that your customers will use (Google Docs vs Microsoft Word).
  • Look at your website with critical eyes:  What causes users to stumble?  Take those bits out!

A community path.

  • Amazon’s customer reviews.  community participation is powerful
  • Includes real conversation,  Blogs, forums, comments, networks: all facilitate conversation, just like what happens in our buildings.  Why doesn’t it happen on our websites, as well?
  • Connections.  Online connection leads to significant conversations when people meet face to face.
  • Invitation.  Active invitations to participate — questions, requests for feedback, etc.
  • Participation: Without participation, you have no community.  “The goal is not to interact with a webform.  The goal is to have a discussion.”
  • Familiarity.  When you share information online, you create a sense of familiarity with your community.
  • Telling our stories.  People want to know the story.  They want to know who you are, what your credentials are, what your opinions are.  And they want to continue the story.  People told their Katrina stories through Flickr and blogs and MySpace, and people added to that as time went on.
  • Twitter is a good example of community experience.  People feel ‘caught up’ by Twitter, as people share what’s going on around them.  People feel like a part of a special group on a backchannel, which adds value to the community experience.
  • So how do you make a digital community?  Harley.  Starbucks.  Webkinz.  All provide a pre- and post- show online experience: About the product for pre-purchase, and then more on the product for post-purchase, plus a way to interact with other people about the product.  None of this is necessarily focused on directly encouraging you to buy more product, simply on sharing information and experiences in hoping you will buy more product

Customer paths:

  • Customer Journey Mapping.  What path do people take to get to to their goal?  New car buyers don’t start buying a car when they walk into a showroom; they start buying a new car when the old one breaks.  Companies and service providers need to map out each point at which the customer touches the product, service, staff, and information provided.  Insight into customer needs is invaluable.
  • Improving the ordinary.  WD-40 has gotten rid of the dumb detachable straws and instead made them integral to the product deisgn.  If you can identify the customer touch points for your site, you can then find the ordinary things that they constantly see and use, and improve those ordinary things.  To improve the ordinary, look outside libraries — what other sites are your patrons using?  What standards are being set by those other sites that you should be meeting?

Stuff we can do

  • Connect the customer
  • Create an experience stage.  Need to learn how to live on the web: DLK thinks we can train for that.
  • Work on conversation
  • Change.  We need to work on organizational change, as a profession.

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