The Experience Landscape

By: Darren Hood


After about 20 years of mainstream business operation, user experience has generated a great deal of buzz around the world of experience design (XD). To help provide some insights about XD today and, hopefully, to spark more curiosity, let’s take a few moments to highlight its major components.


After about 20 years of mainstream business operation, user experience has generated a great deal of buzz around the world of experience design (XD). To help provide some insights about XD today and, hopefully, to spark more curiosity, let’s take a few moments to highlight its major components. I call this the Experience Landscape. It consists of 4 segments:

  • Customer Experience

  • User Experience

  • Learning Experience

  • Brand Experience

Customer Experience (CX) CX concerns itself with researching, addressing, accounting for, and optimizing every customer touchpoint from the time someone encounters the brand, engagements throughout the lifecycle after engaging with and subscribing to the brand, obtaining support for a specific solution or service with the brand, and entering back into the purchasing funnel. CX is the largest of the 3 main experience landscape segments and has the broadest application.

User Experience (UX) The initial definitions and strategies for UX were inclusive of CX, but following the advent of the Internet, UX has mostly focused upon specific engagements within the customer lifecycle (e.g., websites, mobile apps, interactive TV, kiosks, hand-held devices, etc.). UX is usually thought of as being applied solely to interfaces and aesthetics and some oversimplify it by referring to it as “a mindset,” but it is far more complex than most people realize. In addition to being inclusive of visual and interface design, it also includes such factors as usability, heuristics, information architecture, content strategy, several formative and summative research methods, and several interaction design and psychological principles, to name a few.

Today, UX actually serves as a subset of CX.

Learning Experience (LX) LX is similar to CX in that it extends well-beyond the reach of its counterpart, instructional design (which concentrates solely on the classroom), and focuses on the entire student experience and every factor and touchpoint that contributes to the student’s well-being, morale, purpose, and success. Examining areas such as admissions, enrollment, campus activities, residency, DEI (diversity, ethics, and inclusion), advisory support, alumni engagement, and the like, and reviewing microexperiences associated with each, will help identify opportunities for improvement and innovation. This will benefit learners, facility, and administrators alike and help cultivate and maintain an institution that everyone is proud to be a part of.

LX overlaps CX and UX and mostly applies to academia.

Brand Experience (BX) BX basically serves as a perceptive factor. It is the result of an organization’s work in the other 3 experience landscape categories. For example, the BX for a company, institution, or even a special-interest group is based upon the efforts and success of CX, UX, and LX activities and implementations. If those efforts are successful, the BX will be higher, while a lack of effort and/or success will render a lower BX.

In other words, BX represents the automatically generated perception and impression of a company based on the attention given to the main elements in the experience landscape. If you want to drive a higher BX, you will need to have a strong CX, UX, and LX practices.

I hope this high-level presentation helps provide more clarity for those in need. In the meantime, me know if you have any questions.


You can hear more from the author by checking out The World of UX with Darren Hood wherever podcasts are available.


About the author:

Darren Hood, Senior Learning Experience (LX) Designer, Michigan State University

I possess over 2 decades of experience design operation, streamlining processes, and improving UX maturity levels for several organizations, including the Fortune 50, through usability, UX research, information architecture, interaction design, and interface design principles. I also take great pleasure in mentoring and engaging in educational efforts. I currently serve as an adjunct professor for Kent State University's UX Design Master's program and Lawrence Technological University. I'm also the host for The World of UX podcast on CX of M radio.

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