You Can’t Build a Digital Experience

Lori MacVittie Miniatura
Lori MacVittie
Published January 10, 2023

There’s a lot of talk about “building” digital experiences these days. Long time readers know my superpower is pedantry, so look out, it’s about to get real.

You can’t build experiences. Experiences, no matter the definition, are determined wholly from a consumer perspective. Whether it’s the experience your kids have on a vacation or visiting a museum or the experience you have using a digital service, whether the experience is good, bad, or great is a matter of perspective. The consumer perspective. One child might have a great experience. The other? It was horrible because they realized they’re terrified of massive woolly mammoths. Same offering, different experience.

Someone once said that the secret of great presentations wasn’t merely what you said, but how you made the audience feel. Digital experiences are much the same. A great digital experience is about how you make the consumer feel.

Is your interface easy to understand and navigate? Or did you leave the consumer feeling like they don’t know enough to use the service?

Did the digital service perform well? Or did it constantly make them wait for images or information to load?

Did the service do as much as possible to verify their identity without requiring them to jump through hoops? Or did you present fifteen CAPTCHAs and quizzes just so they could get their bank balance?

See, you can build a digital service. You can develop services and applications, stitch them together with APIs through a beautiful user interface, orchestrate an optimized workflow to guide consumers, and still deliver a poor digital experience. Because you didn’t consider how performance or security impacts that experience.

This is the core reason a digital service is more than a set of applications and APIs. It’s why we believe that a digital service must be architected to include application security and delivery services that are able to optimize for performance and security on a per-consumer basis. This is not because we’re a company dedicated to providing multi-cloud app security and delivery technologies. It’s simply reality in a digital-first world. Applications, no matter how they are architected and developed, are not built to address many of the technical requirements of delivering an extraordinary digital experience tied to availability, security, and performance.

These have been, and remain, the domain of app security and delivery. The difference today is that these technologies have become integral to the delivery of digital services—and play a significant role in the experience consumers have when engaging with those digital services.

So, while you can architect for a digital experience and address the factors that impact that experience, you can’t build a digital experience.