It's not easy to define "experience design" and other, related, terms and these definitions are definitely in flux, but for now...
An Evolving Glossary of Experience Design:
Design is a set of fields for problem-solving that uses user-centric approaches to understand user needs (as well as business, economic, environmental, social, and other requirements) to create successful solutions that solve real problems. Design is often used as a process to create real change within a system or market. Too often, Design is defined only as visual problem solving or communication because of the predominance of graphic designers. In other fields and contexts, Design might only refer to Fashion Design or Interior Design. However, a recognition of the similarities between all design disciplines shows that the larger definition for Design operates at a higher level and across many media.
Like Experience Strategy, Design Strategy is more concerned with the ability of a company or organization to respond and perform well in the long term, rather than for a particular design project or goal. Design Strategy is the field and approach of developing strategic policies, usually at a high level within a company or organization, in order to better realize the ongoing creation of successful Design created for users, audiences, participants, or customers. Design Strategy is more concerned with outward market forces and how these impact an organization's ability to perform and serve its customers successfully, than with the creation of individual experiences (which would be the domain of Experience Design). It is also concerned with the internal organization, structure, culture, processes and values within an organization that allow it to successfully create experiences and respond to both market and customer needs. Ideally, there should be no difference between Experience Strategy and Design Strategy but, in practice, Design Strategy is most often performed only in a visual fields and the wider aspects of experiences are rarely addressed.
These are the feelings we experience and attach to events, people, products, and services. They describe our emotional attachment and understanding of people, things, and events and often form the basis of our "lifestyles." They are one point on the spectrum of meaning.
Environmental Design is the field of developing physical, spatial environments (interiors and/or exteriors) to solve a particular need or create a specific experience. The field of Environmental Design could include Architecture, Urban Planning, Landscape Design, Interior Design, Exhibit Design and, sometimes, Event Design.
The sensation of interaction with a product, service, or event, through all of our senses, over time, and on both physical and cognitive levels. The boundaries of an experience can be expansive and include the sensorial, the symbolic, the temporal, and the meaningful.
Experience Design is an approach to creating successful experiences for people in any medium. This approach includes consideration and design in all 3 spatial dimensions, over time, all 5 common senses, and interactivity, as well as customer value, personal meaning, and emotional context. Experience Design is not merely the design of Web pages or other interactive media or on-screen digital content. Designed experiences can be in any medium, including spatial/environmental installations, print products, hard products, services, broadcast images and sounds, live performances and events, digital and online media, etc. More...
Experience Strategy is the field and approach of developing strategic policies, usually at a high level within a company or organization, in order to better realize the ongoing creation of successful experiences created for users, audiences, participants, or customers. Experience Strategy is more concerned with outward market forces and how these impact an organization's ability to perform and serve its customers successfully, than with the creation of individual experiences (which would be the domain of Experience Design). It is also concerned with the internal organization, structure, culture, processes and values within an organization that allow it to successfully create experiences and respond to both market and customer needs.
Industrial Design is the field of developing physical solutions to meet a particular need. These physical solutions might include products, vehicles, machinery, and even environments.
Information Architecture is a field and approach to designing clear, understandable communications by giving care to structure, context, and presentation of data and information (see Interaction Design below). There is no difference between the two terms. Some designers refer to information Architecture as concerning "high-level" issues and Information Design as concerning "low-level" or visual issues but it is not possible to separate the two in developing clear communications, regardless of medium.
Information Design is a field and approach to designing clear, understandable communications by giving care to structure, context, and presentation of data and information. As a field, its principles relate to all communications products and experiences, regardless of medium (print, broadcast, digital, online, etc.). Information Design is, primarily, concerned with clarity (instead of simplicity) and understanding. More...
Interaction is a response experience in which both actor and reactor are engaged in a mutually affecting experience. This means that the system is comprised of two interactive partners. In the case of interactive media, one partner may only be mildly interactive (such as a computer) and only programmatically so. While most of the computer actor's actions are the result of predetermined programming, if the variations are ample enough, it can be said that this actor is interactive (making it an interactor). Mostly, two humans (being inherently interactive) will create an interactive system or experience simple by conversing.
Interaction Design is a field and approach to designing interactive experiences. These could be in any medium (such as live events or performances, products, services, etc.) and not only digital media. Interactive experiences, necessarily, require time as an organizing principle 9though not exclusively) and Interactive Design is concerned with a user, customer, audience, or participant's experience flow through time. Interactivity should not be confused with animation in which objects may move on a screen. Interactivity is concerned with being part of the action of a system or performance and not merely watching the action passively. More...
A term for an interactive participant in an interactive experience. Other terms could include: user, participant, actor, audience.
Graphic Design is an older term for the field of Visual Design. This term refers specifically to the use of graphic media (such as color, symbol, and type) to communicate a style or expression. In practice, however, Visual Design is a better term since most Graphic Designers are skilled in more than this narrow scope of visuals and graphic elements are only a subset of the possible visual components applicable to visual expression.
Meaning is a distinct level of cognitive significance that represents how people understand the world around them--literally, the reality they construct in their minds that explains the world they experience. Meaning is the deepest level of this understanding and is distinct from Values, Emotions, and functional or financial benefits:
- Meaning (our sense of reality)
- Values (our sense of identity)
- Value (our sense of what something is "worth," financial benefits)
- Features (functional benefits)
Sensorial Design is a term used to include the presentation of an experience in all senses. For example, Visual Design only covers visual expression and presentation to the visual sense. Audio Design includes the creation of music, sound effects, and vocals to communicate and entertain in the aural sense (hearing). Likewise, all of the other human senses (touch, smell, taste, etc.) are elements of an experience that can be designed.
Service Design is the field concerned with the development of services to meet specific needs. These services may make use of different communication media (including online, telephone, in-person, etc.), may or may not be automated, and may or may not use products as part of the service experience. A service usually includes a Service Ecology that allows the service operate successfully.
A Service Ecology is a system of interactions and actors that, together, create a sustainable and successful service. Service Ecologies often include several companies or organizations that specialize in delivering one part of the total service. These may or may not be distinct to the user of the service. Successful Service Ecologies must realistically allow each company or organization to create and realize value for their part in the service in order for the Ecology to be both successful (from a user perspective) and sustainable (from a system perspective).
A sub-field of Industrial Design, Product Design is a field that uses various processes to develop physical solutions to specific needs. Products might make use of electronics but are not required to. They may be mass produced, custom-made, or customized.
The overall experience, in general or specifics, a user, customer, or audience member has with a product, service, or event. In the Usability field, this experience is usually defined in terms of ease-of-use. However, the experience encompasses more than merely function and flow, but the understanding compiled through all of the senses.
These are the significant beliefs we hold about how ourselves and others should behave in the world. They govern our judgements and understandings about our own and others' identities. They are one point on the spectrum of meaning.
Visual Design is the field of developing visual materials to create an experience. Visual Design spans the fields of Graphic Design, Illustration, Typography, Layout, Color Theory, Iconography, Signage, Photography, etc. and any medium, including online, broadcast, print, outdoor, etc. Visual Design is concerned with the elements of visual expression and style. It is often an integral step in Information Design and other communication design disciplines.
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