4 Designs


Do you know the feeling when you find a really great product or service? That sigh of relief, realizing this is exactly what you needed? How you feel the joy of some new great idea, what is making your life better, and you want to tell everyone about it?What if I told you, there are several branches of business focusing solely on achieving this happiness in you?

In order to successfully survive and thrive on the market, smart companies have realized that they need to put their focus on making customers very happy. Smart companies started to study the ways we behave, what is important in our life, what makes us happy and what doesn't. Smart companies build their products and service upon this knowledge.

So let us see, how companies know how to build excellent customer experiences!

We are going to see 4 branches of modern business design:

Design Thinking

Experience Design

User Experience Design

User Interface Design

Design Thinking

Design thinking is a revolutionary process to discover great ideas.


It originates from the design firm IDEO. Initially, Ideo focused on traditional design work for business, designing products like the Oral-B toothbrushes, Steelcase chairs. These are the types of objects that are on pedestals in modern art museums. By 2001, Ideo was increasingly being asked to tackle problems that seemed far away from traditional design. A health care foundation asked them to help restructure its organization, a century-old manufacturing company wanted to better understand its clients, and a university hoped to create alternative learning environments to traditional classrooms. This type of work took IDEO from designing consumer products to designing consumer experiences, and design thinking was born.

Design thinking explained:


  • Human centered innovation
  • A way of finding solutions with user observation, visualization of ideas and brainstorming, rapid prototyping
  • Silver lining between relying on the rational, analytical facts and feeling, intuition and inspiration


  • Relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to constructs ideas that have emotional meaning, as well as being functional
  • Good for business as:
    • Helps to be more innovative
    • Better differentiations
    • Bringing products to market faster via rapid testing


  • By incorporating consumer insights in depth
  • Considering the extremes, not just the everyday- where people live, work and consume differently than the rest
  • Addressing the needs of the people who will consume a product or a service
  • Deconstructing problems- why certain things happen, why people behave in a certain way, what are their motives
  • Deep understanding and insights of underlying customer wants and needs
  • Get beyond the assumptions which block effective solutions
  • Involves prototyping- quick and easy tests define usability at best
  • Express ourselves in media other than words and symbols
  • Make workarounds and improvised solutions
  • System of 3 overlapping spaces, rather than steps (as the team can loop back at any time to revise)
    • Inspiration- problem or opportunity to search for solutions
    • Ideation- process of generating, developing and testing ideas
    • Implementation- from project stage to people's lives
  • combines processes in divergent and convergent thinking:
    • Discover- we need to explore many possibilities, gather different kinds of information, and find the extremes.
    • Define- convergent thinking to turn all this information into insights.
    • Problem definition-  define the core of the problem from the insights.
    • Develop- divergent thinking as we try to define a wide variety of ideas.
    • Deliver- with convergent thinking we select ideas to prototype and grow.

The cycle can loop back anytime, and the process can switch from one phase to another.

The strength in design thinking is combining processes where ideas can run wild, but keeping focus on solidifying the ideas in the end and delivering a solution.


Experience Design

“People will forget what you said they will forget what you did. They will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

Experience design is a bundle of designing products, services, processes, omnichannel journeys and environments with the focus on delivering consistently great customer experience.

Experience design focuses on:

  • Meeting customer needs impeccably- first and foremost we need to focus on how we make our customers feel, and to meet their desires fully, and perceive us as their preferred brand
  • Start from customer problem- problem is the reason customer buys our product
  • Creating good feelings -> loyalty and trust -> strong relationship -> returning customers
  • Building consistent customer experience via different customers channels involved in the customer journey
  • Both online and offline touch points
  • Data driven processes-   more information available about consumer behaviour and needs can reshape business processes
  • Velocity- being able to process real time data and create in the solution in the moment of need poses a huge advantage

Common Tools: Customer journey mapping (above), storyboarding, empathy map, service blueprint, and many others.


User Experience Design

User experience design ensures that us as customers have the most enjoyable, seamless interaction sitting in front of our devices. The UX designer considers Why we use a product (our motivations), What are we doing with it (functionality), and How we use it (if it is accessible and pleasant). UX designers start with the Why before determining the What and then, finally, the How in order to create products that users can form meaningful experiences with. In software designs, designers must ensure the product’s “substance” comes through an existing device and offers a seamless, fluid experience.

“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”

Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”

WHY do we differentiate experience design and user experience design?

The term UX most commonly refers to online interfaces. However, experiences with a brand are multi-faced, and more commonly touching various channels. That is why it is important to focus on not just the experience we provide online, but through all of the touchpoints with a customer. Experience design, or customer experience design is describing this overall concept, where user experience design is just part of the equation.


Common Tools: wireframing (above), navigation map, content inventory, card sorting, prototyping.


User Interface Design

Definition: Produce a user interface which makes it easy (self-explanatory), efficient, and enjoyable (user-friendly) to operate a machine in the way which produces the desired result.

User Interface (UI) Design ensures that the interface has elements that are easy to access, understand, and use to facilitate those actions. UI brings together concepts from interaction design, visual design, and information architecture. User Interface Design is making a website or app happen- deciding on what is aesthetically pleasing to our customers, and how to make the navigation as effective as possible. It differs from user experience design in its focuses, tools, and outcomes. The 2 working together make up for great online experiences.


The 4 designs are different, yet consequential:

  1. Make a great new idea using design thinking
  2. Design the whole customer journey with the help of experience design
  3. Make appealing platform and easy-to-use interface via user experience design
  4. Add pleasing visual appearance with user interface design

In the Age of Customer, where our experiences matter, these subjects are gaining growing importance. Rightfully so, as they put a creative, scientific, effective tools in our hands to make experiences even better for us and the world. In the future we can expect even more changes in customer experience- but that is for another time!

Thanks for tuning in! What is the subject you would like to hear more about?

Feel free to reach out with feedback, questions, funny comments, or whatever you would like!

Think along,












Design Thinking for Social Innovation, Tim Brown, Jocelyn Wyatt, Stanford Social Innovation Review Winter 2010