Experience Design: Designing the moments that matter


Experience Design: Understand and Visualize the Moments of Truth

Design thinking, experience design or service design. Sometimes our playing field seems to be dominated by jargon. These are fairly similar terms, but what do they actually mean—and why is it worth understanding? Moreover, how customer journey mapping is related to experience design? How can we leverage a customer journey map while designing the moments of truth? We have already mentioned too many keywords and before being trapped in a cyclical pattern, let’s have a more structured way of thinking.

To be more clear about the concept of service design, two experts can help us. Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider offer a good definition of service design in their book This is Service Design Thinking:

“Service Design is a practical approach to the creation and improvement of the offerings made by organizations. […] It is a human-centered, collaborative, interdisciplinary, iterative approach that uses research, prototyping, and a set of easily understood activities and visualization tools to create and orchestrate experiences that meet the needs of the business, the user, and other stakeholders.”

The boundaries between physical products and services are blurring and, in most cases, the one doesn’t exist without the other. We need to think systematically and understand the ecosystem in which services and physical products operate. The ultimate goal is to create great experiences that your customers are willing to purchase. This goal is also to ensure that the customer experience journey is smooth and seamless throughout. So, we can assume that “experience design” and “service design” are same terms. No matter what you are offering, neither service nor product, it is the overall experience that your stakeholders go through and affects your business. Most of the companies tag CX as growth engine, they quit talking about flagship products.

Besides, design thinking is more a mindset, a way of thinking. It is about using a process of divergence and convergence to solve a wide range of problems. Experience design is mostly practiced by designers and closely relates to the customer journey map. It makes use of more elaborate, extensive design methods, focuses on the development of services and can directly impact all of an organization’s touchpoints. Applying tools is important for experience-related business objectives like increasing NPS, evaluating customer journey analysis, or reducing churn.



Principles of Experience Design

Stickdorn and Schneider defined six key characteristics of the service design approach which are also applicable for experience design.

Human-centered: Consider the experience of all people affected by the service.

Collaborative: Stakeholders of various backgrounds and functions should be actively engaged in the service design process.

Iterative: Service design is an exploratory, adaptive, and experimental approach, iterating toward implementation. Customer journey analysis may be crucial here.

Sequential: The service should be visualized and orchestrated as a sequence of interrelated actions in customer experience.

Real: Needs according to the customer journey analysis should be researched in reality, ideas prototyped in reality, and intangible values manifested as physical or digital reality.

Holistic: Services including customer journey experience should sustainably address the needs of all stakeholders throughout the entire service and across the business.

Two Complementary Tools to Design Customer Experience Journey

On the other hand, customer journey mapping is a powerful visualization tool mostly utilized while making sense of customer data for experience design. This is also where a powerful Voice of the Customer tool intervenes. Customer journey mapping tool and VoC tool pair for perfect fusion to design the moments that matter for your customers, to fully understand and visualize their pain points or satisfaction levels. If you want to learn more about cases when Alterna CX Voice of Customer solution was used for experience design and customer journey mapping, please fill out the form below.

Business Impact of Experience Design:

McKinsey & Company conducted what they call ”the most extensive and rigorous research” into design. They evaluated 300 publicly listed companies to measure how well they designed a customer journey experience, assessed in correlation with financial performance.

Companies that put design at their core increase revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their peers!


Experience design is a mindset characterized by having an outside-in approach and passion for the customer. It is also a toolset that helps you explore possible problems and opportunities in the customer experience journey. Experience design is also a structured process and a cross-disciplinary language that fosters collaboration between departments so that the customer is prioritized.


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