First off - what is a digital experience?
The simple and straightforward answer is whatever you as the customer/user/a person want it to be. It’s your decision.
It’s not something that a business should do for you. Not something that an agency will design and implement.
Is buying a pair of shoes from Amazon an experience? Not for me – it’s a task. Any experience has been done a long way away from Amazon. When I’ve looked at what I want to buy and even (I’m ashamed to say) looked at it in an actual shop – although I have stopped that behaviour now.
Is ordering food from Just Eat an experience? Nope – for me eating it is.
Is being able to talk to my Mum who lives 200 miles away an experience? Yep talking to her and seeing her on Hangouts is an experience for me, connecting through Google apps isn’t – it’s a functional task.
One of the big misnomers about user experience is actually perpetuated by digital agencies – “we’ll develop a user experience that will drive users to convert”.
Hmmmm.. that’s not an experience - that’s focusing on task completion it’s a short term objective. Don’t use the word ‘experience’ – maybe use the word interface – good old fashioned user interface – whether it’s content, imagery, button location or layout – you are designing an interface to enable a user to compete a task.
The experience is in the hand of the person/customer – not the business. Amazon get that actually, you don’t go to Amazon to take a detailed look at a product – you go there to buy it and check what people think. Any focus on true experiences happens away from selling stuff – it’s in Prime – on that platform they are designing and delivering experiences with their content.
Experiences are bigger than buttons on a screen, they involve how you have got to click that button, where you’ve looked, what you’ve seen, how you’ve felt along the way. The challenge is, I think for businesses and agencies to understand that – to understand their relationship with a user at different times in a relationship and understand what they really need to do at a specific time to help the user – this could be simply helping them complete a task.
The ‘journey’ to get to that point – is much more interesting, engaging and relationship building – its called as many of us know Customer Experience (another phrase that is at risk of being hijacked) – but that’s for another piece.
We mustn’t get the word experience muddled up with task completion. I wonder if we need to good old fashioned usability and user experience measures sometimes…
An experience is memorable - completing a task should be forgotten.