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Experience Design vs Interface Design (01 Feb 2005)
What is it that designers design? Most people would answer by naming some class of tangible objects, such as, “buildings”, “furniture”, “cars”, “jewelry”, or “graphics.” Those with a bit more liberal sense of ‘design’ might even say something like, “organizational structures”, “business plans” or “financial models.”While all of these answers are as reasonable as they are predictable, I think that they are wrong, and even if not wrong, they at least miss the point.

Despite the technocratic and materialistic bias of our culture, it is ultimately experiences, not things that we are designing. Yes, physical objects are often the most tangible and visible outcomes of design, but their primary function is to engage us in an experience – an experience that is largely shaped by the affordances and character embedded in the product itself. Obviously, aesthetics and functionality play an important role in all of this since they attract and deliver the capacity for that experience. But experience is the ultimate – but too often neglected – goal of the exercise.
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