Purpose: Foundation of the Experience Design (XD) Solution Stack

What’s the purpose? Whatever the experience design challenge is, what’s the purpose (the objectives to be achieved and why) is the first question that needs to be answered.

Years ago, I learned about and began using the Experience Design Solution Stack when needing to understand a design challenge. The XD Solution Stack is a comprehensive information model that has proved its worth to me many times for many types of projects. I’ve applied the model to application development, website development, proof of concepts, prototypes, demonstrations, and product-concept presentations. The XD Solution Stack model provides a solid structure to the information upon which a solution can be based.

Briefly, the XD Solution Stack is comprised of five component layers (PACCT):


What are the goals to be achieved and why?


Who are the target users, customers, or groups?


What does the audience need to know to achieve the goal?


What formatting style, structure, navigation, and other formatting will help the audience?


What means will deliver the content to the defined audiences using the appropriate context?

Purpose-Foundation of the XD Solution Stack

What’s the Purpose?

What’s the Purpose? It’s the first thing I ask—every time. A well-understood purpose is the foundation of the information model. Without knowing what the objectives are for whatever the project is and why they are important, then you can’t build the rest of the model. You can’t make design decisions without it at any level in the Stack.

Purposes vary greatly from project to project, but they should always reveal the business/product need, how that need fits into a larger business/product strategy, and the level to which stakeholders are willing to invest time, money, and energy. A purpose statement should be concise and easy to understand. I’ve found that when purpose statements become too bloated or hard to articulate, the nature of the design challenge needs to be reexamined because it had not been well defined.

Purpose Statement Samples

For a marketplace website:

The purpose of this site is to bring together buyers and dealers into a single platform allowing for business-operation efficiencies and opportunities. Monetization derives from enabling transactions and marketing.

For a new mobile application:

The app purpose is to give healthcare workers the ability to easily track usage of all disposables so their replenishment rate can become knowable and predictable to the organization. The predictability brings cost control and security in being to ensure supply.

For a new app feature:

The purpose of this feature is to allow a power user to send a collection of messages quickly from a single screen. This saves time for user and reduces server load.

These are hypothetical samples, but they already begin to paint a picture to what the design solution will look like when it’s completed.

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