TOTAL EXPERIENCE explores designing for experience: its theory, its practice, and how designing for experiences affects us socially and in our personal lives.


  • Bob Jacobson
  • Paula Thornton
  • BOB JACOBSON is fascinated by the experience of experience. A planner and technologist, Bob has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning & Design from UCLA. He's been a policy researcher, technology CEO, science writer, and consultant. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied cellular telephony's impacts on transborder communities in the Nordic Arctic Circle. Bob edited Information Design (MIT Press 2000) and is now writing a book on the theory and practice of creating edifying, transformative experiences.
    ( Archive | Contact Bob )
    CORANTE PAULA THORNTON says, "Understanding human behavior (economics), optimizing interactions (design) and facilitating conversations (markets), are the means to achieve strategic differentiation. This is the focus of our discipline. It is not a 'nice to have'‚ and is not, like documentation once was, an afterthought. It is the means by which to start a strategic discussion and the means by which to drive a tactical initiative. All design should be evidence-based."
    ( Archive | Contact Paula ) >

    (Courtesy of Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia SpA, Torino)

    Experience Design Websites
    Core 77 Website & Forum
    Business Week|Innovate
    InfoD: Understsanding by Design
    The Wayfinding Place
    Wayfinding Focus
    Design Addict
    L-ARCH (Landscape Architecture Mailing List)
    DUX 2007 Conference
    Digital Thread
    Enmeshed, Digital Arts & New Media
    Ludology (Game Playing Theory)
    Captology, Persuasive Computing
    Space and Culture
    Raskin Center for Humane Interfaces
    timet (acoustical design)
    Steve Portigal, Ethnographer
    Jane McGonigal's Avant Game
    Ted Wells' living : simple
    PingMag (Japan)

    Experience Design Blogs
    Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
    Experience Designer Network (Brian Alger)
    SmartSpace: Annotated Environments (Scott Smith)
    Don Norman
    Doors of Perception (John Thackara)
    Karl Long's Experience Curve
    Work•Play•Experience (Adam Lawrence)
    The David Report (David Carlson)
    Design & Emotion (Marco van Hout)
    Museum 2.0 (Nina Simon)
    B J Fogg
    Lorenzo Brusci (acoustics)
    Cool Town Studios
    Steve Portigal
    Debbie Millman
    MIT Culture Convergence Consortium
    Luke Wroblewski, Functioning Form|Interface Design
    Adam Richardson
    Putting People First (Paul Vanderbeeken/Experientia
    Laws of Simplicity (John Maeda)
    Challis Hodge's UX Blog
    Anne Galloways's Purse Lips Square Jaw
    Bruno Giussani's Lunch over IP
    Jane McGonigal's Avant-Game The Future of Work

    Experience Design Podcasts
    Ted Wells' living : simple Podcast
    Design Matters Podcast, Debbie Millman
    Icon-o-Cast Podcast, Lunar Design

    Experience Design Firms and ED-Oriented Manufacturers
    Barry Howard Limited
    Hilary Cottam
    LRA Worldwide, Inc.
    BRC Imagination Arts
    Stone Mantel
    Experientia s.r.l
    Herman Miller
    Cooper Interactive Design
    Doblin Group
    Fit Associates
    Strategic Horizons LLC (Joe Pine & Jim Gilmore)
    Cheskin Fresh Perspectives

    Education and Advocacy
    Centre for Design Research, Northumbria University (UK)
    Center for Design Research, Stanford University
    International Institute of Information Design (IIID)
    Design Management Institute
    Interaction Institute IVREA
    Design Research Institute (UK)
    UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Design Research
    History of Consciousness, UCSC
    Design News Magazine
    Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD)
    Design Museum London
    Center for Sustainable Design
    Horizon Zero, Digital Arts+Culture in Canada
    Design Council UK
    First Monday

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    June 17, 2005

    June 9, 2005

    Embracing Zero

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    Posted by Paula Thornton

    As we approached the new decade, one of the buzzwords was 'coopertition' — finding ways to embrace the competition to increase potential. Just a short time before that, at a Gartner conference, I was shocked to recognize a significant change in Bill Gates that would seem to support this position. Sitting on a panel with his major competitors, in the past had they directed challenging comments toward him you could feel him restraining himself to avoid leaping across the stage to accost them. Instead, this time he was calm and collected — a decidedly distinct change. But there was one telling comment that explained his demeanor. He said something to the effect of, "Every time the competition makes a dollar the pie just gets bigger. I realized that this isn't a zero sum game."

    Now a new group of entrepreneurs has found a way to capitalize on 'zero' — free phone calls. In metropolitan areas of New York, phone kiosks have been set up allowing the caller to make 4-minute long distance calls for free. The tradeoff? The kiosk is an advertising billboard. Just like advertising was the economic mechanism which provided tele-vision at no cost to the masses, now tele-communication is going economically retro.

    The responsible entity, Popa Media, often finds an 'open arms' business demeanor as they hunt down new locations to position kiosks. Where in many situations they would need to rent space to place a phone, they are often offered free space because of the additional foot traffic the phone draws. After all, people have to 'stand still' for those 4 minutes and are likely to take a closer look at their surroundings than they might otherwise. Popa capitalizes on this with the byline: "The hottest branding platform on the planet."

    Additionally, the phone itself provides an interactive component to the experience. Many advertisers are local businesses. The phone is equipped with a speed-dial number directly to the advertisers. Finding the right combination of location and offering is key. In an installation on the campus of SUNY an apartment advertisement got a call 5 minutes after the promotion was put in place.

    This 'branding platform' helps shorten the distance between sellers and potential buyers, all the while offering an economic return to the buyers for their attention.

    Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Integrative + Interdisciplinary Design

    June 7, 2005

    Science Meets Madison Avenue

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    Posted by Paula Thornton

    One of the benefits of having some 'bench time' is being able to just do random things, like read a bunch of books and/or (sometimes simultaneously) flip through channels on TV (which is admittedly a bit limited when you can't afford cable or sattelite).

    Today my reading and watching crossed paths (not simultaneously). Visiting some friends recently, I was mentioning my 'list of foods' (from "Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type"), and they pulled a book off of the shelf to share: "The Antioxidant Miracle". Today I flipped to PBS and heard a lot of the 'lingo' from the latter book and thought perhaps I was listening to the author (I ran to find the book to check the author's name, "Lester Packer"). That wasn't the case. Instead, I learned that yet another individual, Nicholas Perricone, had similar perspectives all based on additional research (hmmm, two people with similar conclusions based on their own observations or drawing conclusions from even really old research, rethought). Unfortunately, I had tuned in for the last 10 minutes of the presentation, so I had to quickly uncover more details.

    Perricone_186x272.jpeg As I attempted to learn more (to update the supplement shopping list I was going to fill this evening), I uncovered the transcript of a Larry King interview with the doctor (a dermatologist by practice). Here's where the story bears relevance. Larry asked the doctor about the purpose of a storefront he has on Madison Avenue. Dr. Perricone replied: "The store is basically an information center. I believe that the health care industry and beauty industry is going to merge so what people need is good information so you come to the store, we have registered dietitians, we have skin specialists, there is a library there, there are video screens, you can sit and learn and think about what's happening, complete evaluation, medical history, what you should be eating, vitamins to be taken, what are your skin problems. The idea is that information is the key. If people have good information, they can take very good care of themselves."

    Experiential and educational shopping...something even I created a concept for just as an exercise for a destination 'village'. Any other good examples of 'immersive' commerce?

    Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Practice of Experience Design