Toward a More Meaningful User Experience

User experience designers spend a lot of time focusing on usability, and rightly so. If a user interface is difficult or confusing to interact with, the end-user will become frustrated or, worse, thwarted in their attempt to accomplish whatever goal the experience was designed to facilitate. Brands want to provide services to their customers via digital channels. People want to interact with brands over these same channels. All we need to do is design the context in which these interactions take place. It should be easy?or at least simple.

Yet translating a brand?s requirements into a series of intuitive interactions for people is full of opportunities for failure. And we often do fail, usually in small, specific ways that are obvious in retrospect. All of which brings us back to the focus on usability. We strive to design intuitive interfaces, so that the experience of using that interface is ultimately a successful one. By following proven standards and vetting the usability of our designs ahead of time, we increase the likelihood that our translation of the brand?s requirements matches customer?s expectations and is perceived to be intuitive.

Designing interfaces that are usable is important, but what if there is more todesigning a successful user experience than merely ensuring that it is usable? Next week at FutureM in Boston, on October 25th, Roundarch Isobar will host a panel discussion titled ?Creating Meaningful Digital Experiences: The Semiotics of UX,? which will explore this idea along with questions such as:

? ? Do relationships between brands and consumers arise naturally, or are they designed?

? ? If the goal of design is to influence, modify, and drive behavior, shouldn?t we explore the meaning generated by those underlying interactions?

? How do evolving paradigms such as gestural and natural user interfaces (NUIs), wearable tech, and pervasive social media affect the relationship between consumers and brands?

I (@mbadger) will be moderating the discussion, which will feature brand analyst Joshua Glenn (@hilobrow), brand/UX strategist Katie McIntyre (@mcintyrekm), and UX strategist Thomas Wendt (@thomas_wendt). For a preview of the topic and some of the questions it raises, check out our in-progress discussion on branch.com (http://on.branch.com/TEqkxY).

To learn more about our panelists and to register for FutureM itself, visit http://futurem2012.sched.org/event/2f982dac9ea6eb6ee239664c3162c462 Use our discount code (PT-290) when you register to receive 20% off the ticket price. Hope to see you there!

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