As companies, we want our employees to feel comfortable, and we do not want them to leave. We need to make the work environment easier because this way, we will end up with better results. How do we make this possible? Employees are naturally stressed, with everything they have to do before, after, and during work. So, experience design answers the question: “What can happen during the workday that alleviates stress?
What is experience design?
Michah Spieler describes experience design in two sentences: “It is an approach that centers around the experiences of people to the design and features of your products, processes, environments, and strategies. Experience design arises out of the users’ needs, feelings, contexts, and mindsets to design experiences that centers around them.”
Experience design is the process the design teams follow when they are creating a new product or service. These products provide meaningful and relevant experiences to the users. These experiences can differ from transactional purchases to customer support. It can also be a new product, a display at the clothing store that tells you if your size is still in stock, or a website with all the information you need. It is all to make it as easy and comfortable for the user as possible. (Interaction Design Foundation, z.d.)
You could say that experience design is the psychological layer of the design process. It is concerned with bringing a pleasant user experience, and as the term describes it, it is concerned with the entire ‘experience’ of using a product or service. (Paul Christian, 2019)
Experience design isn’t only the experience of a product or service, it is more than all of this. Experience design can also be a business strategy. A lot of new companies come onto the market with a strong base because they focused a large part of the process on user experience when developing their business. (Spieler, 2020)
“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service, from initial intentions through final reflections, from the first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”
– Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”
Often experience design and user interface design are confused with each other, but there is a big difference. Experience design refers to the interaction people have with a product or service. While with User Interface design, you focus more on the look and feel and presentation of the product. (Stevens, 2019)
How does experience design benefit the workplace?
When you are creating a new office, you are designing for the needs and different types of people who work there. People need to come in and feel right where they belong and feel like they are walking the walk of quality of life. You are creating a space where people can feel comfortable and where their lives are being made more relaxed.
Employees are naturally stressed out people. They have a lot happening before and after work. They might have a doctor’s appointment, take their children to school, walk the dog, make breakfast, catch the train, and not be late for work. Experience design answers the question: “What can happen during the workday that alleviates stress? Not only in the office but also before and after work.”
For example, you get to work, and you have been running all morning. Between kids, the train, and breakfast, there was no time for yourself. An experience designer will have thought of the best solution. There will be a space where you can relax for a little bit, catch your breath, read some messages, and drink a cup of tea. Then you will be ready to start a day full of work, and instead of making mistakes in your work, you will focus and hand in great results.
This image shows a great example of experience design on the work floor. A space like this can alleviate stress and make sure you get the right start on your workday. In this space, you can relax and drink a cup of coffee but also work in a different environment for a change, or work together in a communal area.
Another example of what experience design entails is what happens during the time your company decides to move locations. For example, the new location has terrible access to public transport, something most of your employees rely on. What do you do? From the experience design point of view, you create a solution that makes it easier for the employees to get to the new location. This could be a shuttle service, ride-sharing, or a work car. You always have to keep in mind: “What would make their lives easier?” Think of that, and then create a solution around it. This way you won’t have to lose your employees to a location switch or a very busy personal schedule and you make their lives a little easier.
Experience design also affects the competition for new employees or interns. If you use experience design in a very methodic way and create a welcoming environment where they will feel better and more attracted to your company. It shows your new employees that you care and want them to work for you. (Sodexo, 2017)
To conclude, by designing your office differently, transport is taken care of, and one of the most important aspects, hospitality, you can make sure your employees deliver great results. Also, your new employees and potential clients feel that you are the right fit for them. All of this combined will benefit your workplace.