Learn how experience designers can make an impact on your team

In the vast world of UI/UX design, there are different types of designers who contribute to the overall user experience. While it may seem daunting at first to figure out which designers you’ll need on your team for the specific projects you’re looking to launch, the breakdown can be quite intuitive. In our new series, “Breaking Down UI/UX Roles,” we dive deep into the various types of designers you can engage on projects that drive business value for your company. 

As Andela’s Head of Design and Product, I’ll guide you through each role and share insights on how you can leverage each type of designer on your team. In this installment, we’ll take a look at experience designers. Experience design is an approach of creating designs and features of products, services, and processes that revolve around the needs, feelings, and mindsets of users. That’s why they’re integral to creating rich user journeys for your customers.

What’s the difference between UX and experience design?

Experience design is a broad term that’s often confused with User experience design, or UX. UX design typically centers around the level of satisfaction users get from the technology and is primarily about human-to-computer interactions. There’s minimal consideration for the physical world or the environment. Experience designers don’t just design for traditional screen-based interfaces. They design for the full spectrum of experiences a user might encounter when interacting with an organization.

However, the scope of experience design goes beyond the interactions of the digital world and covers real-life affairs. For example, your interaction and level of satisfaction with a mobile banking app is a part of UX Design, whereas how you interact with and feel towards an exhibition in a museum is part of experience design.

Why is experience design important?

Every human interaction with a product, service, or process kindles an emotion. However, the intensity of liking or disliking may vary for individuals. Experience designers shape the feeling a company elicits from its customers through the solutions offered to their problems. If you can communicate the right experience at the right time, users will resonate with your company’s offerings and values.

An improper design approach can cause an experience gap. Even if you have a product or platform that’s easy to navigate, the experience gap can create doubts in the users’ minds about its true value.

Whether you focus on it or not, your customers will always experience different feelings while using your products or services. If you can walk them through their buying journey smoothly, there is nothing that can stop the growth of your business.

What goes into experience design?

Designing a resonant experience is more about what people need rather than what you can build. To make this experience more efficient, you also need to sync the suitable technology and available data to create an inclusive experience that fits everyone’s needs.

According to a model presented by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, designing an experience is a systematic process that follows five significant stages.

Empathy

Experience design begins with understanding the feelings, beliefs, sentiments, and worldviews of your target audience that contribute to their decisions. 

Definition

After understanding the motivational drives, the next step is to define your target audience’s needs and problems that you can solve with a competitive advantage.

Ideation

Once you have identified and defined the needs of your target audience, in the next stage, you need to conceive a solution that satisfies their decision-making process and solves their problem more efficiently compared to existing solutions they may already have.

Prototyping

Prototyping is the process of bringing your concepts to life. Once you have the ideal solution, it’s time to implement it with a series of concepts through samples, models, or product build releases. 

Testing

To check how well your prototype works, gather feedback from your target audience and see the scope for improvement before launching the final version.

Common technical skills to look out for when hiring experience designers

The role of design has significantly evolved from “problem-solver” to a creator of meaningful experiences. To narrow the experience gap, experience designers use several techniques.

Concept testing

A skilled experience designer will know how to test concepts and how to do it well. Once your team identifies a target audience, performs the necessary research, and begins working on concepts, testing is the natural next step. Testing helps experience designers determine which parts work the best for your product or project and where there are opportunities for improvement. 

MaxDiff and Conjoint Analysis

Using these analysis tools, designers can measure people’s preferences towards different products or services. Using these two techniques, designers can identify the most successful combinations of your offerings by comparing several items.

Naming studies

A good brand name can help connect with the target audience easily. It’s because people associate different attributes with names. With the help of naming studies, experience designers can find out what values your audience might perceive from the name associated with your brand.

Why hire an experience designer?

Experience design covers the broad understanding of your target audience’s motivations and needs. It draws from many other disciplines, including cognitive psychology and perceptual psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, architecture, and environmental design, haptics, hazard analysis, product design, theater, information design, information architecture, ethnography, brand strategy, interaction design, service design, storytelling, heuristics, technical communication, and design thinking.

Although it’s a relatively young subject and is continuously evolving, more and more organizations are bringing a cultural change in their working patterns to relate to their consumers. While most of the work until the last couple of decades focused on what technology can do or what features a team of experts can create, experience design changes the spectrum towards what people want, creating more relevance between consumers and the products we create for them.

Hire the top experience designers

A UI/UX designer can be your whole package for designing projects. To find the right UX/UX designer, you need a person capable of technical and personal skills.

At Andela, we connect brilliant talent with opportunities to do impactful work. Andela’s Design Practice has the talent and experience to build your next design system. If you want to hire best-in-class experience designers, put together your dream team with Andela.

Ready to find expert experience designers?

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