In early 2000, Jesse James Garrett from Adaptive Path wrote The Elements of User Experience. An insightful piece that helps understand that the User Experience Design (UXD) process must be intentional, follow a methodology, and focus on a user-centered experience. A light manual with plenty of insight based on the digital solutions model at the time.
The concept of User Experience at the time was focused on digital interactions, based on a procedural way to attain a good product or assess milestones throughout the production and development of applications and websites. Very shortly the field of User Experience was understood as the overall experience of a person using a product, a system or a service.
Designers roles are changing and the number of companies that value the end to end experience is increasing rapidly.
No matter whether the service, the event, the product, or the system are ephemeral or everlasting, exciting experiences gain audiences and users in record times as observed by applications that are nimble, viral videos or disruptive campaigns. In today’s economy there is a lot of competition, and it is exponentially growing, which raises the stakes for better experiences.
A wide perspective has to be accounted by companies and organizations to create strategies that can be assessed and evaluated for short, mid- and long term product or service plans. A comprehensive diagram of the core three elements of UX (Design, Business and Technology) demonstrates the intersection and synergy between the vast list of elements and fields of user experience.
The value of user experience can be simply understood by the words of Ralf Speth:
If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.
As companies mature, their innovative products and services will encounter competition, and those who acknowledge and use design to make robust and captivating experiences are the ones who will be significant.
How fast can design empower growth? We can see the latest leading software company for team communications, Slack, as an example where paying attention to your audience usability and experience to the extreme has paid great dividends on their leadership in this highly competitive space.
The field of user experience is vast and one must address it at different levels and stages of an organization, its goals and its corporate culture. In 2011, Nathaniel Davis from MethodBrain produced a diagram with the eight UX Design Practice Verticals:
- Business Context Analysis
- Usability Engineering
- User Experience Planning
- Content Publishing
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Visual & Information Design
- Computer Science
NBV’s approach to UXD starts at the strategic level, usually at the Business Context Analysis, and it goes through all these eight UXD Practice Verticals.
An appropriate UXD strategy ultimately addresses real business challenges impacting multiple industries with fundamental technology usability shortcomings. Examples abound such as the healthcare industry. One large intrinsic challenge is the lack of adoption of new digital technologies due to the strenuous UX that healthcare providers and patients alike, encounter when implementing necessary process changes. There is an evident gap (and therefore a great opportunity) to innovate with the principles of simplicity, usability, and real-time feedback as guiding elements.