Stuart Maxwell is Lead Information Architect at REI, where he focuses on site structure and navigation, metadata schema design, and taxonomy / ontology modeling. He has a Masters in Information Management from the University of Washington’s Information School and has taught information architecture at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle.
Stuart has presented talks at the IA Summit in 2015 and 2016, and was the Experience Director for IA Summit 2017. He led the planning team that brought World IA Day to Seattle in 2015, and was a founding organizer of the Seattle Mind Camp unconference.
IA Summit 2016
Topic(s): case studies, cross/omni channel, and place
80 years ago, the bar for a retail experience was low. A simple shelf in a gas station was enough to display our company’s initial product line. Today, that won’t cut it. Today’s designers have to incorporate scores of inputs, from how our customers encounter our products online and in the real world, to multiple departmental budgets and timelines converging around a campaign. In this environment, it’s easy for customer perspective to get lost.
And yet customer experience is more important than ever. “Experience” is the secret sauce that will save physical stores from Internet giants. For designers, experience can be an overwhelmingly broad and loosely defined concept that is dependent on context and requires a rich understanding of the people for whom we are designing.
As leaders within our company’s design and research teams, we’ll walk through our experience research and design approach via a case study of REI’s recently redesigned camping department. We’ll share this process in detail: understanding customers in their authentic context; comparing information behavior in the physical and digital worlds; fostering customer-centricity on diverse design teams; carrying this empathy through physical space design, prototyping, and iteration; and navigating the politics of experience design.