Designing Experience Design – A tangential take on experience design principles

 Nov. 27, 2013

(…) our unbelievably complicated civilizations will be able to prosper only if we design them in such a way that they do not clash with or tend to suppress our basic animal demands. Why have we become like gods as technologists and like devils in moral beings, supermen in science and idiots in aesthetics — idiots above all in the Greek sense of absolutely isolated individuals, incapable of communicating among themselves or understand one another? By designing without any stylistic or formal preconceived notions, and tending towards the natural formation of things, one gets the essence of a product.In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. I design experiences, and this is the way I design.

Concepts: Limit, Reuse, Recycle

Concepts are cheap to spend, expensive to cash.

Too often new products base all their being ‘new’ just on introducing a new concept.

Too often renewed product are all based on featuring a new concept.
Sometimes, even within the same product, every (new) feature is based on a (new) concept.

As designers, it’s easy to throw in new concepts; it is actually the easiest shortcut to design a solution: one’s struggle in applying design rules to a specific context/challenge, or more simply one’s not knowing the rules, and implementing a new, made up on the spot, concept just seems the quick win. Very bad designers use this approach constantly, extremely bad interaction designers actually make their trademark out of it. They sell it as creativity.

Users, on the other hand, rely on familiarity (with the concept) when interacting with a particular product’s feature. Familiarity is derived by a repeated, constant, close exposure; if you introduce a new concept, by definition, it won’t be something the user is familiar with.

New concept = extra cognitive effort.

A new concept has to be deciphered (de-coded), to be understood; and then its interaction in a particular context has to be deciphered, and the way it works with other concepts has to be understood too. Only once it’s been grasped, a concept can be put into use.

But even once understood, a newly introduced concept won’t gain afamiliarity status in one go; depending on various factors (complexity, frequency of use, etc.), it will take several encounters before that concept becomes familiar. Multiply the above process, and cognitive effort, for every single new concept you are thinking to introduce. And, the more complex the feature/task, and the less familiar with that feature the user is, the deeper the understanding of the concept has to be…[see Article]


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