Experience Principles

From Game Of Thrones To Haiku: Experience Principles To Design By

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in my 20 year-long research career building complex models of user experience—things like customer experience models, customer journeys, personas, and even user flows. Experience models can simplify a complex experience, leading to the identification of new areas of opportunity. A robust customer journey can map out touch-points across a wide variety of different locations, times, and drivers. And well-informed personae can yield unexpected insights and deep understanding of user types.

These are all excellent and invaluable tools that we use to help strategists, designers, and developers understand core users. However, at BeyondCurious, we have also been using a new tool to help drive design—Experience Principles.

What are Experience Principles?

Experience Principles are simple statements that encapsulate a key truth about the experience at hand. They are short, easily transmittable statements that reflect the salient aspects of how users experience a particular context. If a customer journey provides the epic detail of Game of Thrones, an Experience Principle is more like haiku – a description of the key factors of experience that is pointed and concise, yet evocative and generative. Experience Principles simplify the complex universe of user experience into key points that must be kept in mind in design. They are simple, almost self-evident. They are easy to transmit, and easy to remember.

How are Experience Principles developed?

Experience Principles are based on key observations about users, things you know about an experience by repeatedly watching users. One of the reasons we began using Experience Principles is because of our Agile Research approach. Agile Research is completed in quick, iterative sprints in order to quickly inform product design. The key to turning Agile Research into Experience Principles is to take time periodically to step back and review the research to date in order to come up with strategic observations or truths about users in the experience.

How are Experience Strategy Principles applied?

Experience Principles have a wide range of applications, from environmental design to strategy and marketing. For a recent project we have developed Experience Principles based on significant longitudinal observation of people interacting with prototypes in a particular context. These principles have been absolutely crucial to our iterative design research process, guiding decision-making as we develop new prototypes and new experiences. In this project the Experience Principles have been used not just by marketers and designers, but also by developers and architects. Experience Principles are so simple, and so easy to reference that everyone can easily invoke them throughout the process.

User Experience Haiku

Experience Principles are a unique, targeted tool to help you keep key user needs at the forefront of your team’s mind. When applied correctly, then can drive everything from new business strategy to new user experiences. Like haiku, they describe something essential about a contextual experience. And, like haiku, their power is not just in the description, but in how the specificity of a particular experience can expand into wide realms that are profoundly impactful.

The poetic-form of Haiku is deceptively simple because its brevity masks a great deal of observation, understanding, analysis and reflection.  Like Haiku, Experience Principles don’t come easy, but when they do come, they pack a serious punch that can be lyrical as well as functional.

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