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Considering The Holistic Brand Experience

By Lisa Sawyer, User Experience Architect, Interactive I recently attended my first IA Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. This summit has been an ongoing industry fixture since 2000 and ''?¦is the premier gathering place for information architects and other user experience professionals.'? This year's summit was entitled 'Taking it to 11'? and called on practitioners to take the practice beyond its traditional borders and take on the world. Whitney Hess' closing plenary captured this sentiment well. One of the conference highlights, for me, was the session I attended entitled 'Leaving Flatland: Cross-Channel Customer Experience Design'? given by Samantha Starmer from REI, which provided an eye opening look at how user experience designers can no longer design online experiences in a bubble. Cross-channel 'on-ramps and off-ramps'? need to be considered. Consumers are bombarded with ads from television, magazines, newspapers, mobile devices, and on and on.  When a consumer interacts with a brand, they don't care about the channel; they care about the entire experience (over possibly several different channels). As a result, companies need to care about the overall brand experience everywhere it is found and interacted with. There is no such thing as a one-off microsite anymore. So the next time I'm designing a website I will be thinking of the holistic user experience. What are the possible on-ramps to the site? What is being said on Twitter and Facebook? What is the event/product information on posters and in advertisements? It all adds up to the complete experience.

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