5 principles of Experience Design



For the past few years, multiple processes have been adapted, tweaked, and created from scratch to design a great experience. Some have proven to work. Some, not so much. Is there an ideal system to design great experiences?

There are 5 aspects that I believe can make or break an experience.

1. User
Large amounts of detailed questionnaires are what we depend on to understand the user. If lucky, we meet a couple of them. But is that enough to truly empathise with the user? Is that enough to understand the user well enough to create a strong experience?

Most of the time, the underlying, subconscious behaviour patterns of the user might be the most valuable insight to create an intuitive experience.

Intuition is subconscious. In order to create an intuitive experience, it becomes imperative to delve into the possible subconscious patterns based on user research; which goes beyond questions and questionnaires.

Nobody ever thinks that there might possibly be 2 very different types of users, of which both could be your target audience. How do you tackle a situation like that, without ticking off one user?

personal branding

How do you create an optimum experience for both the users?

The answer is the next point.

2. Context

personal branding

Is this a good bench? Yes, if you’re asking me how it looks aesthetically. Absolutely not, if it is supposed to be seating for people who are tired on the street.

Understanding the context within which your user will experience your product can be the common factor between 2 extremely different users. The people who might want to sit on a bench on the street might be a different target segment altogether, but the context brings them together.

That said, a person who is jogging on the street will most probably not sit on the bench, which brings me to point number 3.

3. Source

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This image is a good thought starter on source. Today, traffic to an experience comes from many different avenues such as social media, display networks, search engines etc. So understanding where your user came from before they landed on your product, becomes very crucial. This will help create a certain seamlessness without causing cognitive overload or thought overhaul.

Once you have a person within your experience, how the person navigates through it is what will define conversion for any experience; no matter what the goal.

Which leads us to the next point.

4. Navigation

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If a user has to click something to find something, you have created a horrible experience for them.

Users need to feel like their journey through the website feels ‘intuitive’, which comes from creating movement and navigation by using content, insight, as well as visual direction.

While a person might navigate through any experience, to assume that every consumer will convert in the first instance, is a fool’s wish.

Hence arises the need for-

5. Micro Goals
Every experience needs micro goals. They can be defined as ways to get the user to remember the experience, as well as enable the user to come back once he/she has made up her/his mind.

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Focussing on micro goals from the get-go, can make for an experience that is not desperately pushing you to buy a product or service. It is actually understanding the funnel of an experience and deciphering where the user possibly wants to take their time and come back later.

These are moments when every experience could use micro goals such as:

Bookmarking, sign-up, newsletter sign-up, sharing something etc.

These become interesting ways to establish your experience in your user’s eco system.

Hope this helps!

Happy designing intuitive experiences.

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