As I continue to work as a designer of User Experiences, I am more and more amazed at how my career is circling back to its roots in architecture and interior design. Most design professionals will agree that they share a common design process. UXAs may call it requirements gathering while architects call it programming, but our projects all follow a general cadence of determining our end users needs and building something to meet those. What’s becoming more apparent is the blurring of who is designing what. Removing the liability that Architects and Engineers carry, experience designers come from all different backgrounds and are starting to mix and mingle in each others spaces.
What’s driving this change? It’s our customers. They don’t see the divisions that we do. Think about the last shopping experience you had. You may have done some initial perusing on your laptop at lunch before heading into the store with that retailer’s website open on your mobile phone. You may have even used the store’s kiosk to check inventory or consulted with sales person who brought up information on a computer or tablet. The customer’s expectations is that the experience – from labels and signage to pricing – will be the same online and in store. It sounds simple, but anyone who works in this space knows how challenging it is to design a consistent experience for one channel, let alone across many. It also sounds exciting. The merging of digital and physical experiences for the ultimate customer experience brings with it visions of persistent shopping carts, virtual shopping guidance and so much more.
With that being said, I got to get back to work – there’s a lot to be done. What good examples have you seen about the convergence of physical and digital experiences?