Touchpoints are defined as points of contact within an experience design. This definition describes all the ways someone engages in an experience that has been painstakingly designed for them. Those of us taking on roles as experience designers think of touchpoints as mobile devices, tablets, and desktop websites, but what these definitions fail to include are the acknowledgement of human touchpoints. There is no substitution for human contact and so many of us interact with the commercial world through human contact.
Think about the last time you went to the mall, a restaurant or even a drive-thru. We’re you greeted with a smile? Did you feel like you were listened to? Was the person helping you courteous? The answers to these questions are part of your experience and in many cases are the main influence on whether or not you had a good experience.
If you’ve spent time studying any form of literature, mythology, film or theater, you have heard of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (aka The Hero’s Journey). Actually, anyone who has seen Star Wars or The Matrix has seen it in action.
When I look back on how I started in design, and as I mentor professionals newer to the disciplines of design, I see some interesting similarities to The Hero’s Journey. Sure, it’s not lightsabers and quirky droids, but there are similarities nonetheless.
I am often asked by new or aspiring designers “How do I become an established user experience designer? What was your path?” My goal here is to help those aspiring designers, or designers who are new to the field, avoid some of the pitfalls I encountered. Some were external, but many were self-inflicted.
Since this is about my particular journey, it will be filled with personal examples. The names of the companies and innocent bystanders have been omitted.
The value of usability testing is a subject to debate: does it contribute a valuable and objective perspective of a proposed design, or does it merely muddy the waters with the interjection of the uninformed opinion of a dozen people who are not particularly bright? The answer is: it is both, and getting the value out of usability testing is similar to panning for gold in that you have to separate the trash from the treasure by understanding how to listen selectively.