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Much is being made in the digital media world about the shift from product design to user experience design. This article from Fast Company does a great job of laying out some of the most essential ideas behind quality user experience design, including ideas like designing with a long-term vision in mind, and being focused on the customer (but not necessarily being driven by the customer).
But these ideas go beyond designing products and digital applications, they apply to any work we as content marketers do for our clients. Whether you’re creating a new look and feel for a brand, or writing a set of e-books, or even something as simple as renaming a company, you should always be thinking of how the work will be experienced by the end-user. How does a certain color palette make the viewer feel? Where and how will the reader consume an e-book? What does a name look like when someone says it to someone else?
These aren’t revolutionary ideas, but you’d be surprised how often we stray from thinking about experience, and focus too much on creating polished products that are pleasing from a design or strategic perspective. One of the best examples of this idea of experience is Uber. They crafted a company with the intention of changing an experience, not changing a product or service.
If there were any question about whether or not YouTube and social media were helping bridge divisions between cultures, I’d say the verdict is in. Jennifer Grout, a rather white woman from one of the whitest and most WASPish corners of America, came within the width of a blond hair to winning Arabs Got Talent, losing out only at the last minute to a Syrian dance troop.
The other performers in the finalists all performed songs and dances with Western influences, but Jennifer happens to love traditional Arabic songs, so that’s what she sang. Many Arabs criticized the contest for allowing Jennifer to perform at all. But a far larger audience, people from throughout the Arab world, praised her for crossing cultural lines and celebrating Arab traditions, demonstrating again the universality of music and the power of today’s media.
It was only a few years ago in the span of human civilization when the only gesture one country could make towards another was through some stiff diplomat (no offense, John Kerry). Now the gestures can be made with the lilting melody of an Arabic love song, sung by a Bostonian, and experienced by everyone, everywhere.