Don’t be a Digital Dinosaur: Design for the Space Between

Samantha Starmer (REI, Recreational Equipment, Inc.)
Product 2009
Presentation: external link
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 11 ratings)

The gap between physical and digital is becoming blurred. I can do yoga with my Wii, order artisan pizza with my iPhone , or use Skout to virtually flirt with people within a walkable distance from me and then meet them in person at the local bar. People want to interact with products and services when they want to and how they want to – and that’s not always on the web. From mobile apps to touch interfaces, design is becoming more demanding. But design professionals can’t stop at digital. If we do, we’ll go the way of the dodo, dinosaurs, and disco.

Developing a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints is the new nirvana that everyone from Marketing to IT is talking about. Few companies are doing it well, and even fewer resources seem to exist on how to integrate the disciplines of interaction design and user experience with the long histories of customer service and brand marketing best practices. Via my experiences (some successful, some painful) evangelizing these efforts at a top multi-channel retailer, I will share some challenges, strategies, and tactics for designing and implementing a truly holistic customer experience. Topics covered will include:

  1. Why should we care about designing beyond the digital experience?
  2. How can we design for multiple interaction touchpoints across digital and physical?
  3. What are the key pieces of a full, holistic customer experience?
  4. How can we create consistency between experience touchpoints while still maximizing the capabilities of each channel and delivery mechanism?
  5. What can we do today, next month and next year to design for holistic customer experiences that drive revenue and engagement?

Successful experiences for our visitors and customers require ‘designing for the space between’ – the space between interactions, interfaces, and channels. Staying relevant as designers in this multi-modal age requires designing beyond digital, and thinking about the complete context where people use products and services. Unless we recognize this future, we will become digital dinosaurs.

Photo of Samantha Starmer

Samantha Starmer

REI, Recreational Equipment, Inc.

Over the last 12 years, Samantha Starmer has worked on a wide variety of experience and information architecture projects and strategy. She started her career in the early days of, enjoying a year long stint in Slough to launch, and later developed experiences for Amazon’s checkout functionality and the third party selling platform. She also honed her start-up skills at SchemaLogic, and her business strategy skills while at Microsoft.

Samantha is currently a senior manager at REI, creating and leading teams for experience, interaction design, information architecture, and customer experience research and analytics. Her most recent focus has been evangelizing and creating holistic customer experiences across channels, time, and devices.

Samantha regularly teaches at the University of Washington’s Information School, where she received a Masters of Library and Information Science degree in 2005. She is active in the user experience and information architecture communities, and has served on the boards of the Information Architecture Institute and Content Management Professionals, and is currently on the Oversight Committee for the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative.

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