How is the role of experience strategists and designers changing?
I’m seeing clients recognize the value of engaging strategists earlier in the design process, to better understand user needs, preferences, and engagement patterns. Our strategists are also looking carefully at market context, competitive landscapes, and internal client ecosystems to bring the right ideas and design direction to bear on every project.
In turn, designers have a lot of great information to work with and can engage seamlessly with their strategy counterparts, particularly as the designs and interaction patterns are tested at every stage. Waterfall strategy and design processes are going by the wayside in favor of integration and transparency from start to finish.
What’s the biggest thing that prevents companies from delivering great omni-channel experiences?
Companies need project leads who can toggle between big-picture systems thinking and the details in order to bring omni-channel experiences to life. Most large companies have a slew of business units that engage with customers and they’re not necessarily aware of each others’ strategy or intent.
Successful companies create cross-functional teams to drive that omni-channel experience in partnership with their design and technology vendors, so that they can understand and address every angle of the customer and brand experience.
What’s the current state of AI in experience design?
People throw around the term AI pretty loosely in the design world, but we’re still in the early phases of the continuum between data analytics and true AI. Our clients have access to vast troves of customer, usage, and business data, which they sort and assess using analytical tools. This process drives insights that improve our ability to personalize experiences.
We’re flirting with true AI in design at this point and success will require designers and technologists to study and shape their own opinions about how AI can and should (or shouldn’t) be deployed in user experiences. I can’t help but think about our troubled history of introducing one invasive species into the environment to combat the effects of another… humans aren’t particularly good at predicting the results of environmental disruption. I’d like to make sure AI deployment isn’t the next invasive species!
How can we make personalization better?
TEST and LEARN. Interviews, hands-on co-creation, and user testing at every stage of a project allow designers and technologists to check their assumptions about personalization.