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Designing the Digital Experience

David Lee King speaks with Helene Blowers before his presentation

David Lee King speaks with Helene Blowers before his presentation

David Lee King (his blog) recommends the book Experience to get an understanding of what experience is and how we are becoming an “experience economy”.  We can use this concept in designing the digital experience.   There are three paths.

Structural path.  Create a better experience by making your website easier to use–focus on their goal instead of how to use the site.  Stay out of the user’s way.  They aren’t interested in your site’s structure and all its cool features!  Be quick and fluid and get improvements out quickly.  Look at your site with critical eyes and don’t think about the potholes.  Don’t make your users think–if they have to think about how to use the site, you have failed.

Community path.  Create a memorable community-based experience created through online participation in a community.  Give users the ability to create reviews; have real conversations through commenting, instant messaging, online forums, etc.; invite user participation by issuing invitations to interact and share their thoughts; and let them tell their stories.  (See what David’s library, the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library is doing.)

Customer path.  Improve the experience for your customers.  Many consumer companies have discovered this.  For example, Starbucks has lots of information on coffee on its website, and Harley-Davidson has the motorcycle experience allowing customers to meet fellow Harley owners, which focus on the experience surrounding the product.  Libraries could offer book discussion groups on the Web and extend the physical experience into the digital space.  Think about how you can improve on the ordinary (David mentioned how WD-40 cans now have the straw attached).  If you were to start over with your website, what would  you do differently.  Compare your site to those in other industries, not other library’s sites–your customers are not using them!  Surprise and delight your customers.

What’s Next?

  • Connect the customer to your product.
  • Create an experience stage.  Every part of your customer contact is like performing a show.
  • Work on conversation to improve the ability to connect and interact.
  • Work  on organizational change.


Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and CIL 2009 Blog  Coordinator

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