What is Digital Experience Architecture?

Digital experience architecture maps the properties of an environment’s user interface, conceptual foundation, and information structure as they relate to fulfilling the mutual intent of a system’s designates.

Recognizing digital experience architecture becomes necessary when the effort and resources that are needed to maintain human-digital engagement increase in complexity and scale. In such environments, the phrase “ecosystem” becomes a relevant descriptor.

Scope

The constructs of a digital experience architecture should reflect the assumptions, known factors, and situational contexts that are anticipated for the system’s owner and users. When organizations understand the inherent architecture to accommodate users’ experiences and interface interactions, teams enhance their ability to successfully manage digital interface design lifecycles and its general business value.

A digital experience architecture is sustained by three key activities:

  • System (or Product) Management Activities
    • help to facilitate owner and customer planning with the digital team
  • Design Architecture Activities
    • translate owner and customer intent across a global strategy and interface design conventions for human-digital engagement; and documents it as such
  • Infrastructure Architecture Activities
    • enable design architecture and owner intent across an integrated information technology platform; and documents it as such

The business and value of design architecture and infrastructure architecture are best measured by their output of actionable references and rationale for a digital environment’s state behaviors as they map to a known owner and user objectives.

Origin

The philosophy for digital experience architecture stems from my assertion (2015) that our contextual physical environment, human user interfaces, and technology infrastructure represent a new “system” context; and that in order to produce a complete digital solution, any user interface and its respective information systems require an equal level of architectural rigor.

Further, as digital technology continues to integrate deeper into our physical environment, our new systemic viewpoint must be metaphysically agnostic. Meaning, a digital experience architecture may accommodate a wide range of modalities—including, but not limited to, digital and physical contexts. Hence, while the physical environment is not the primary object of human digital experience, it is a factor that shapes and, in some cases, integrates with it. Thus, when mapping a digital experience architecture, non-digital factors should be taken into account.