Thursday, October 29, 2009

Designing the Digital Experience

Author: David Lee King
As the Digital Branch and Services Manager at the Topeka & Shawnee County Library(in Kansas) , the author is accustomed to planning, implementing and experimenting with the various trends in the emerging technological world. He has been a speaker at information industry events in the US as well as overseas, has been published in numerous library industry journals, and writes the “Internet Spotlight” column in Public Libraries Magazine with Michael Porter. Overall, David is highly knowledgeable of the e-commerce industry (specifically website design) and what does and does not work in attracting a generation with a limited attention span.

*His website/blog is:

Selection of the book:
Although the class is based around e-commerce and the internet world, I didn’t find my book
through a search engine like Google or a recommendation posted by an individual or company on their website. Instead, I navigated through the dusty halls of the local library and found it nestled in the computer “how-to” section. Initially, I had no interest in the book. The cover wasn’t eye-catching and the author’s name was unfamiliar. However, after reading the synopsis and reviews in the first couple of pages, I quickly changed my preconceived notions. As a marketing major, I’ am continuously learning about design and implementation strategies in business. This book seemed like a perfect fit with my personal interests and career plans. In completing the book, my hope was to be more informed of the tools and tricks of using the internet as a marketing medium.

The book serves as a guide to the tech-savvy reader who desires to know how to effectively design experiences on the internet. David Armano (VP of Experience Design and author of Critical Mass) sums the foundation of the book: “We’re all social beings, we all have to get our basic needs met, and we seek positive experiences while trying to avoid negative ones. Whether it be a website, product, or service, these are basic human truths. And it’s why the strategy, planning, and execution of experiences are more important than they’ve possibly ever been.”With this base on the human need for experience, the chapters are broken into three parts:
PART 1- The structural focus in digital experience design (creating better experiences by improving the websites usability).
PART 2- the community focus in digital experience design (online participation and community).
PART 3- the customer focus (stage experiences online and turn negative/neutral experiences into positive/memorable ones).
Also included are general tips on how to generate conversations with blogs, wikis, and podcasting. All in all, the main strategy and subject is centered on the end result- the customer’s attitude towards the product/service being marketed.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in marketing via the internet. The thread throughout the book of “an experience” is vital in understanding how to effectively communicate with others. Joseph B. Pine II and James H. Gilmore (authors of The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre & Every Business a Stage) pinpointed this tool perfectly: "It's crucial to understand that experiences are a distinct economic offering, as distinct from services as services are from goods. Experiences result when a company uses tangible goods as props and intangible services as the stage for engaging each customer in an inherently personal way.”Therefore, understanding that customers want an experience primarily (along with the product/service) will set you apart from all other individuals in the business world.

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