Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Design Experience or Design FOR Experience - 1

User Experience Design. This 3 word title looks sounds great. Ask any designer and they'll say this is what they want to do or be.
It all started with Industrial design in the beginning. Then it was Human Factors Design (HFI) where users' interaction with the machine - the actual physical machine with all those levers, pulleys, switches and meters were studied. Then with introduction of digital media and technology it bifurcated into Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design. Designers now specialized in how user interacts with virtual objects constrained in one small screen. All those files, folders, Desktop and blah blah came into existence. With the advancement of technology this tiny little space got more power and technologists started putting more and more stuff in it. It became really hard for an end user to perceive what is inside and to conceive their task effectively. It wasn't race against time, it was more about not confusing the user. For the user of the system its like a maze wherein they have to anticipate what can come next. This cannot be left on mere guess work. Oh I started preaching design.
Coming back to actuals. Now the media and technology and so Information consumption is not just limited to one device/media/platform. You get same information in different format on different devices. Television, Computer - PC/laptop, Mobile phone and now Fridge, Washing machine, audio deck in car. And if all start delivering different interfaces to the user, there'll be no reason for him/her to continue using a service.
There comes the experience. As a designer we are responsible for designing experience of end user. But wait. We don't design experience because it largely depends on context, user and the goal and it is very dynamic. However we can design small artefacts to enhance the experience of user.

So it is designing for experience.

This post was more about arriving at the distinction. Next post will talk more about how do we Design for experience of users.


harsh said...
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harsh said...

A very perfect observation on the part of end user. The pace of technological changes and the information overload sometimes leaves the end user baffled. I am waiting for the next post which gives me the insight on designer's designing experience.