I recently gave a book-related interview for a local-to-Topeka magazine, TK Magazine. People actually read it! I’ve had a number of people stop me and say they saw “my article” – that’s sorta cool. Here’s the interview:
In the March/April 2008 issue of TK, we introduced you to the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library’s new “Digital Branch” – a library branch that exists entirely on the Web, enabling you to check out books, pick out movies and music, and just about anything you else you want to do at the main library (except you can do it all in your PJs!).
The whiz behind the development of the library’s website [aside – LOTS of very smart people built our website – definitely not just me!] is David Lee King. He has just published his first book, “Designing the Digital Experience,” which aims to help you create a website that offers such a positive digital experience that your visitors will not only return, but will share links to your site with all their friends, family and co-workers.
TK: What is “experience design?”
DK: Experience design is the practice of designing, well, lots of things – products, services, events, and environments – but with the customer’s experience fully in mind. A good example of experience design in action is a visit to two restaurants, McDonalds and Hard Rock Cafe. At McDonald’s, you get a sandwich, and the normal fast-food experience – rather bland (some would argue, just like the sandwich).
But when you visit the Hard Rock Cafe, the “experience” you have while at the restaurant is geared toward a theme – that of rock music. Everything, including the food and drink you order, the decor of the place, t-shirts you can buy, even the background music playing, is themed to provide you with a “rock and roll” experience that you can’t help but notice.
Hard Rock Cafe has designed an experience around rock and roll – only part of the total experience involves the actual food.
TK: How does that relate to my website?
DK: Websites are rapidly changing from electronic brochures about an organization or business to an actual destination, where real-life, real-time transactions take place. Take my bank, for instance. At my bank’s website, I can balance my checkbook, pay bills, and transfer money. I can do actual, real-world things at the website.
Organizations are starting to improve the experience their customers have while at the site in order to better serve their customers.
TK: What will our readers learn from your book?
DK: My book will quickly get you up-to-speed about what digital experience design is, and different approaches to take with your website in regards to digital experience. I also provide ideas to help jump-start your thinking about what your customers experience while at your website, and ways to help improve those experiences.
* original article online at TK Magazine, used by permission
** Photo by Bryan Nelson