Yesterday I wrote a post about interactive newspapers and included a couple of links to some prototypes. Afterward I began to think about the importance of user experience. One way to approach the user experience is through interface design. One could experiment with the content provided, aesthetics, and even existing technology. But what I’m really thinking about is how does the whole experience come together for the customer. Why not approach user experience from the user’s perspective? This requires taking time and think it through and planning the experience into the product or service.

Have you ever hosted a dinner party and just threw it together at the last minute with whatever happened to be in the fridge. Probably not. You more than likely choose an appropriate menu. Decided to use real dishes and utensils or maybe the evening called for paper and plastic cups. You might have even bought a plug-in air freshener to invoke a specific mood. In short you tried to create an environment where your guests are comfortable and enjoyable time will ensue. But have you ever thought about the product or service you provide in the same way you prepare your dinner party? More importantly, why not?

When you go to office or store tomorrow think about the experience your client will have when they come through the doors or access your product. Is is pleasant, over the top? Will they tell their friends how great you are? You already know the answer to the question. If you work in an industry like newspaper publishing, your loosing readers everyday. Perhaps its time to look at the whole user experience. If you have a small local store that competes against big chain stores, you already have an advantage. You have the ability to make big changes and try things out. Your competition is stuck in corporate bureaucracy. They can’t change anything without permission.

Here’s a few questions I want to ask when designing a product or service.

• Who uses it? Are we targeting the correct groups? Are there groups we’re missing?

• What are they doing with the product? Are they engaged? How do we increase their level of engagement?

• Where do they use the product? Can they access it in other places? How do we make that happen?

• When do they use the product? Are there other times they would like to use it?

• How do they use it? Are they missing out for some reason? How do we fix it?

I’m including some links to resources that will help you develop an outstanding user experience.

Seth Godin

Purple Cow–Includes/dp/1591843170/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332342885&sr=1-1

Yves Bèhar at fuseproject

IDEO specializes in user experience

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