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Designing The Digital Experience

According to David Lee King, author of Designing the Digital Experience (published by Information Today) experience design is an approach to creating successful online experiences for people in any medium.  He told us about the three paths to experience:

  1. The structural path, in which a better experience is achieved by focusing on the site’s ease of use.  Users should be able to focus on the content, not the navigation details.  See the books Elements of User Experience, by Jesse James Garrett and Getting Real, which can be downloaded free on the site 37signals for further discussion.
  2. The community path, where a memorable experience is created based on participating in a community.  Conversations play an important part, and there are several types of conversations involved: 
        Commenting on blogs, etc.,
        Connections to other people, such as through "friending" on social networking sites,
        Invitations to participate in the community,
        A sense of familiarity through getting to know people by seeing their photos, etc., and
        Telling your story and letting people know who you are, what your interests are,  etc.
  3. The customer path.  Extending the experience by providing an experience, not just a product.

 Libraries can design digital experiences. Here are some suggestions:

  • Connect the user to the product and to other users.
  • Create a fun and exsciting experience.  Learn how to interact on the Web and train reference librarians to do it.
  • Read emerging books on marketing.  Conversations are the new ways of marketing.
  • Change!  Think about the experience more than the content.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and IL 2008 Blog Coordinator


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