On January 28, 2009, Ryerson University called on local digerati to come up with ideas for their upcoming program in Digital Media:User Experience Design. The workshop session was hosted by the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University and featured three leading experts in the areas of usability and experience design.
Tedde van Gelderen, President of Akendi, spoke about the importance of experience design and how companies should align all the components that touch the end user to come up with a more enjoyable and profitable customer experience. He encouraged companies to take a holistic approach to experience design, and explained why the intangible aspects of a customer experience (such as emotion) are just as important as more tangible aspects such as technology and strategy.
While most clients tend to jump right into the design stage, van Gelderen noted that it's best to consider strategy and research before entering the design phase.
Steve Mast, Vice President and Managing Director of Delvinia Interactive presented a case study involving the Canadian Opera Company. Entitled "The Digital Opera Customer", Mast explained how Delvinia was able to use the principles of digital media and interactivity to design an engaging website for opera fans. After researching opera customers, Delvinia found that less than 20 percent of them were using the site - in spite of the fact that most were highly media saavy. Delvinia used interactive stories to create an engaging experience on the website that was able to connect with fans on an emotional level. Content was also created for distribution through BlackBerry devices that kept customers up to date on the latest developments of the COC.
Finally, Ilona Posner, a Usability Consultant, led the team through a workshop on paper prototyping. Posner explained how the process of trial and error is critical to good design, and demonstrated how paper prototyping can be an effective way of laying out a design before it gets to the more expensive development stage. The workshop was fun and engaging, and participants were able to test their designs with fellow digerati.
Ryerson's plans for a future program in User Experience Design highlights the importance and benefits of considering experience design in the everyday business environment. While success in business depends on a solid return on investment, the intangible aspects of design can contribute to the bottom line by ensuring that customers are both engaged and excited by a brand's attributes.