Experience the Brief – The Experience Brief

Experience brief? I know what you’re thinking… is this just another Interaction Design document, another deliverable that has an obscure name? That’s what I thought the first time I heard the term “Experience Brief,” and I knew I had to learn more about what it was and how I could use it in my future projects. I’m here to tell you that the Experience Brief is actually a very important document to add to the list of deliverables, when appropriate, because it helps to set the ground work for the future user experience of the project and can elicit client collaboration early in the design process.

Ok, so what is it, you say? The experience brief is a document that is produced by the interaction designer early in the Discovery phase of design. We create the experience brief after our initial gathering and input from many sources such as stakeholder and customer interviews, analytics gathering, competitive reviews and heuristic reviews. It is a synthesis of our findings and discoveries about the “challenge” at hand and compiles what we know so far. Once we have stated what we have learned to date, we introduce guiding design principles, which have been created based on the interpretation of the data collected and help to set a solid foundation for the new user experience and future design. The brief is presented to the client before the conceptual design phase, before user flows and wireframing begins.

This brief is very important to assist in building consensus with our clients on where the user experience is headed and can help to point out any “show stoppers” early on. It is a great document to have on hand to refer back to during later stages of the design process to ensure the user experience stays on track. I have found that the experience brief positions the interaction designers as strategic thinkers and shows the extensive thought process that goes into defining future user experience.

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