An Experience Design Definition Statement

One of the Apple Guidelines for developing applications is to create an application definition statement early in your development effort to help you turn an idea and a list of features into a coherent product that people want to own. A definition statement is a concise, concrete declaration of the main purpose and its intended audience. This idea of creating a definition for your solution can be applied to more than just applications. You could apply these same principles to defining experiences for all types of products and services.

Apple suggests that throughout the development of your solution; use the definition statement to decide if potential features and behaviors make sense. Take the following steps to create a solid definition statement:

  1. List All the Features You Think Your Customer Might Like: Brainstorm and try to capture all the tasks related to your main product idea. Don’t worry if your list is long; you’ll narrow it down later.
  2. Define Your Target Audience: Apart from the likelihood that your customers expect beautiful, simple interactions, and quick response, what distinguishes them? After musing on these questions, imagine that you decide on three characteristics that best describe your target audience and develop an Audience Definition.
  3. Filter the Feature List through the Audience Definition: If, after deciding on a few audience characteristics, you end up with just a few features, you’re on the right track – great experiences have a laser focus on the task people want to accomplish. Now you can craft your definition statement, concretely summarizing what your solution does and for whom.
  4. Don’t Stop There: Use your definition statement throughout the development process to determine the suitability of features, interactions, and terminology. As you consider whether to add a new feature, ask yourself whether it is essential to the main purpose of your solution and to your target audience. If it isn’t, set it aside; it might form the basis of a different solution.

Be guided by what people might expect to accomplish with your solution, such as the ability to accomplish a serious task, to get a quick answer, to delve into comprehensive content, or to be entertained. As you consider the terminology to use, strive to match your audience’s expertise with the subject. Your solution should be easy to navigate and feedback should be subtle, but clear.

Excellent guidance from Apple… The next time you are creating a new experience or revising an existing experience, consider a Definition Statement to guide you.