My Role in Experience Design and the Interweb
Since I started in 1999, there have been tremendous innovations in the internet that have changed how we communicate and work. I "remember" my first job as web producer in 2001, where I coded HTML and launched the first "real-time video stream" for Ziff Davis. Flash was all the rage back then, with every site competing for moving, blinking and rotating elements. The next major step was when content publishing took over design in 2006 or so, leaving Flash behind because it lacked the ability to contain that much information. Information architecture and experience design was born out the need to help the user navigate the complexity of information and systems.
Beginning in 2010 and gaining popularity in 2014, our industry took another leap with the omni-channel experience. This approach gives the consumer a magnitude of ways to interact with a product, making service design much more important to ensuring a positive experience during every step of the journey. We also opened up the access to visual and written information in multiple formats, from mobile, TV, desktop and in-store beacons to virtual and augmented reality. Experience design also reached voice, with products like Siri, Echo and Google Voice, where device responses are designed to answer potential questions and assist the consumer in multiple ways.
My Focus Now
Today my focus is on how we use service design to lead the consumer/user through the labyrinth of possibilities as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. Service design has become the core of my UX practice: helping brands by creating personas for the target audience, analyzing primary and secondary research, building eco-systems and identifying digital opportunities in the consumer journey, customer journey and sales cycle.
I really enjoy running design thinking workshops, where we brainstorm and create empathy maps, sketches and affinity diagrams for digital activation ideas, content strategy and wireframes. I am hands-on with traditional UX deliverables and, if time permits, will create the interaction patterns and wireframes. Otherwise, I help junior staff in UX/UI or design create them.
Much of my focus is working with other department leads to integrate a user-centered design approach as part of the process to create a better product. Part of this process involves working collaboratively and integrating all teams to ensure that an idea is well vetted before kicking off production and that it always ties back to the consumer/user need and the initial problem.