In the Age of Experience, customer expectation has been transformed. It’s not just a good idea for a company or a brand to deliver an experience with their product: it is imperative when you want to have a real impact on the market. This is changing the scope of what it means to Design.
Design has evolved beyond modeling products. Products used to be the direct expression of the design intent, defined under the physical constraints of available technologies, materials, ergonomics and well defined tasks and functions. But in the Age of Experience, products are dematerialized, reduced to “black boxes”, while integrating the realm of our augmented life.
The scope and value of Design is now at a critical place.
Design’s perspective is moving from designing products to designing experiences, engaging final users in a totally new way. It goes beyond aesthetics to genuine social means, investing in a larger scope of actions across a large spectrum of new disciplines. This “transdisciplinarity” of Design impacts business models, creates new offerings and new social engagement, and convokes new uses of science for designing meaningful and sustainable experiences.
We traditionally consider “Design Thinking” as placing the “human” at the center of the project or value proposition and deciphering what people really want, but fail to express. Design Thinking was the first visible step of Design transformation, moving from the individual designer’s subjective concept towards an empathic model of engagement, leveraging a social participative approach and multiple viewpoints.
Businesses use Design Thinking to identify market opportunity and build a solution that delivers customer value. It’s an improvement for designing a better product with clear identity, efficiency, and well-defined utilities. But the world and Design have quickly moved on to broader and more holistic issues, tackling complex systems and considering the full technological and service ecosystem by co-defining with users what makes up a unique and continuous experience.
This broader realm of “Experience Thinking” encompasses a new scope for designers, going beyond functions and harnessing the emotive power of customer experience. They script future scenarios and craft real-time 3D prototypes, use immersive technologies and virtual universes, and develop 3D digital masters with integrated information. Designers are acquiring abilities to access new information, including knowledge gathered from studies, but also a large variety of Data captured from sensors. These combined social and science-based data provide new material for designer creativity.
Digital content is the new nexus for thoughts, interpretation and decision making. The right tools and platform for ideation, virtualization, manufacturability and sustainability enable designers and businesses to view and validate experiential designs at any stage of the development process. Designers can craft the links between products and their interactions, making visible the emotional connections and their use. Data and senses combine for new balanced proposals.
Where we go from here depends on how we use Design to transform companies’ business ecosystems to create designs that captivate users, accelerate technology adoption and deliver ethical and sustainable experiences. Users will “co-design”, modifying deeply our life experiences and changing forever the way people live, travel and interact with technology in the future.
Design professionals across industries (such as architects, industrial designers and transportation specialists) can today transform their processes, methodologies and applications for experience thinking to imagine, design and fabricate innovative proposals.
Collaborating within this new innovation environment, experience thinking can help a business build its brand’s promise and the accompanying emotions it evokes. Then, each customer experience stands on its own as a singular achievement, but also provides a perfect center of gravity that builds brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
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