Interview: Jess McMullin and Samantha Starmer on Designing for the Cross-Channel Future

We recently spoke with Jess McMullin and Samantha Starmer to bring you more information about their upcoming pre-conference workshop at the IA Summit, Beyond Digital: Designing for the Cross-Channel Future.

Q: Why should someone sign up for your session?

Technology is becoming more and more integrated with our physical lives, demanding more of all who design and optimize user experiences. A truly great, holistic experience requires that we think about the whole arc of the user’s experience across time, channels and delivery mechanisms. As experience design professionals, we need to extend our reach beyond just experiences for the Web and mobile applications. A website or mobile app might comprise just one interaction—one touchpoint—in the end-to-end experience that users have during their journey to complete their goals.

This full-day workshop will give you tools to take immediately back to your own organizations and practice in order to move to this next level of experience design. The best way to learn how to design for cross-channel experiences is to be immersed in our own cross channel experience and then use that to design optimizations using new tools and methods. It is easy for this topic to be viewed in too much of an abstract and theoretical way (“of course it makes sense to design across a user’s whole experience”), but providing direct, hands-on experience in the work provides specifics that participants can take back and immediately apply in their own jobs and organizations.

Q: Why is it important that participants attend your session now?

Designing experiences just for digital platforms is no longer enough. Customers…users…citizens - whatever we call them – don’t just interact with a website. They engage in interactions across time, channels and touchpoints. New technologies and capabilities have caused consumers to be even more demanding. We expect to choose when and how we interact with products and services. We often interact with a brand/company over time via multiple sites, apps, and services instead of through just a single event.

More and more organizations are recognizing the importance of holistic cross-channel experiences and are hiring new strategic and leadership roles in order to design these experiences. IA and UX practitioners should be in the forefront of these roles, but right now they are often going to people who don’t have our expertise in user centered thinking. We need to jump into designing for the full user’s journey in order to stay relevant in our profession and increase our value within our organizations.

Q: How will your session help attendees immediately on their return to work?

We will provide specific tools and recommendations for how to evangelize and design for cross channel experiences, and how to begin this work in their own organization. All of the recommendations, tools and methods have been used in real life cross-channel experience design and we will share our mistakes and successes so that others can gain from our learnings.

Q: What are the top three things attendees will learn in your session?

  • Why we need to design for holistic cross-channel experiences
  • Tools, methods and hand-on activities for designing optimized cross-channel experiences
  • How to evangelize the need for cross-divisional partnerships to support holistic experiences

Q: Can you give us a glimpse of any surprises you've got planned for attendees?

Attendees will get special, behind the scenes access to a very near-and-dear cross channel experience – the IA Summit itself. This includes aspects of the planning experience, the hotel experience, the attendance experience, etc. When we were asked to co-chair the 2012 Summit, we knew immediately what case study we would use for this workshop. We are thrilled that we can offer an actionable case study where attendees can participate directly in designing recommended changes to the experience for the 2012 IA Summit.

Q: What are you willing to do/offer if you sell out your workshop seats?

Samantha will find a way to provide some sort of special experience at the REI Denver flagship store. Jess will send everyone a copy of his upcoming business origami kit.


You've heard it here, folks! Don't miss this great opportunity to learn what you need to know about designing for the cross-channel future. Get more details about this pre-conference workshop.