An experience, in the context of digital business, can be defined as the totality of visual, intellectual or other inputs that a user encounters through a digital platform or device, in relation to a product or service. Experience design, therefore, is the effort to create the optimal series of inputs and resulting user actions that achieve the desired result – an excellent user experience. In the best examples, this design effort encompasses both business and user goals in optimal balance. A good digital experience should be good business, as well.
In truth, a user or customer’s experience with your product or service extends well beyond the edges of their computer monitor or tablet screen. A person’s experience with a given product or service can include their first contact with your message in whatever primal form, entangled with cultural and personal expectations, cross-referenced with every other product or message they have ever heard. It is incredibly amorphous and undefinable, even to ourselves. Therefore it is necessary (at this point in history, at any rate) to set ourselves some boundaries of “designable” experiences.
In a more digital-centric model of users, the experience could be defined as the path or flow that the user follows through your product or service. Necessarily this means that the discipline of experience design needs to address design on at least two levels at once. We need to understand the user and their expectations and challenges in relation to the software/hardware (as best we can), and we need to understand the software/hardware itself.
Therefore, the user experience designer needs to be the interface between business, users and technology.