Why our engagements always start with Experience Design
Before launching any technology project, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of where you are trying to go, and how you’re going to get there. Experience design enables us to think through the people, process and business side of technology to ensure that the human elements are at the heart of the solution.
We promise this isn’t just another buzzword to add to your already full plate of tech jargon, there is a method to the madness!
Experience design has become widely recognised and is used by leading businesses around the globe, often found hiding within other buzzwords like “customer experience”, “human centred design” and “service design”. All of which place a focus on learning from the current state to determine how an ideal future state could look. It is critical to understand the crux of issues currently being experienced by customers, employees and other key stakeholders in order to design the best possible outcome.
So what does experience design look like?
Experience design can be complex to understand in a technology setting, so let's look at a simpler scenario.
Imagine you are five years old, you’re at the beach building sandcastles. Your first two attempts weren’t bad but there is definitely room for improvement. Your Dad has a few tools that you think could help, including a bucket and spade.
You might be asking yourself, if you already have the tools, why can’t you start building? And while it’s tempting to dive head first into filling up your bucket and digging a hole, experience design will help to ensure;
You don’t build one massive sandcastle, when really what you needed was three smaller sandcastles
You don’t end up digging yourself into a hole
You know how to use your tools properly and know how to get the most out of them
Now let's have a look at how the process would work: the first stage of experience design is to collect as much information as possible to understand the current state.
In this example, your hand-formed and slightly drooping sandcastles represent your current state. While they are functional, they certainly won’t be winning any architecture awards, and the current structure poses risk of collapse. During this stage the aim is to learn as much about your existing sandcastles as possible.
Next we choose which problems to solve. In this stage we are not only defining problems but also defining goals, defining who will be impacted and defining questions that will help shape the future.
Are you wanting to stop the castles from being washed away? Do you need to build your castles faster? Prevent cracks in their structure? Protect them from any enemies nearby?
Now to the fun part, creating and innovating solutions, where we dream how we want the future to look. Here we will take into account the experience, ideas, features, functionality and processes that are wanted going forward, helping to craft a detailed future state blueprint.
Think of this as you building your dream sandcastles in the future, that meet both your needs and requirements from the previous step. You may draw out some designs in the sand so that everyone can give feedback on what they think of the design and the design can be tested against the learnings from the current state.
So what does this future state look like? These new and improved sandcastles might include multiple well structured towers, a moat to drain seawater or a wall to keep enemies at bay, not to mention you’re building them at twice the speed you were before.
Finally we commit on how to get from A to B. Creating a roadmap is when we draw the line between where you are now and where you want to be (your ideal future state experience). We will map out how you are going to start building these new and improved sandcastles, utilising the tools at your disposal (your bucket and spade).
At the end of this process you will be set up for success and ready to start shovelling and building. Not only will you have a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve, but you will also know how to get there using your tools properly.
Why do we do this?
Going through this process at the start of an engagement is essential to helping you save time and money once you start building. The ideal outcome of the experience design process is a blueprint that guides all of your technology decisions. Ensuring that anything that you commit time and resources to going forward is going to contribute to getting you closer to your future state.
Our goal is to lay a foundation that can be built on, while acknowledging things will change as the business changes with each functionality introduced.
From an organisational point of view, experience design helps to:
Reduce risk of an unsuccessful implementation, by providing clarity from the outset
Future proof the solution, by knowing what the future state looks like for an organisation, even if you aren’t there quite yet
Ensure a sensible roadmap for delivery, chunking the elephant down into bite size pieces and ensuring a logical flow to the various steps that need to be taken
Ensure stakeholder buy-in, by involving relevant individuals early and ensuring they are fully informed of the platform and solution value before the build begins, which ultimately helps user adoption later on down the track
What happens following experience design?
After confirming the strategic roadmap or blueprint, we can easily move into delivery mode (get out that shovel and start digging!). For each phase of the roadmap, we may need further discovery workshops to drill into the detailed requirements needed to bring those milestones to life.
When making an investment into a significant piece of technology for your business such as Salesforce, experience design can be a vital engagement to ensure a considered approach. Many of our clients find it an enlightening (and fun!) process that pushes them to reconsider what is possible and they often end up learning more about their business along the way. Ready to open your mind and discover what’s possible for your business? It’s easy to get started, just reach out and say hello.