Its time to relaunch Total Experience. Summers sloth is over, fiscal years are ready to begin, and its time to bring in the harvest.
Paulas and my experience leads us to an unavoidable conclusion, one that has yet to percolate thoroughly within the experience-design community: to become a professional practice, and to be taken as the same, experience design needs constraints. So, how do we characterize experience design, its content and boundaries? What gives it value and meaning?
Heres a definition were batting around:
Experience design is about the design of environments -- from conception through deployment that convey an idea, engender an emotion, and catalyze action.
Put another way, for our purposes, immersive sensorial environments created by experience designers generate affects that result in effects. We are what we experience.
Paula and I propose a practical purpose for TE: to identify, critique, and recommend exceptional experience design thats happening today. Heres an indicative list of issues and cases that we hope to address over the next six months, things that matter to us (in no particular order):
* Designing Experience Design: Creating Our profession
* Interdisciplinary/holistic/synergistic/integrated Design
* Las Vegas: Our National Exhibition of Experience Design?
* Case Study: Designing the Washington Mutual Experience
* Case Study: Designing the Starbucks Experience
* The Evolution of the Shopping Mall
* Sports Arenas: Minimal Design, Maximal Experience
* Who Will Be The David Macauley of Experience Design?
* The Design and Consequence of Refugee Camps
* Macro-Experience Design: RANDs Arc for Palestine
* Virtual Environments: The Skew of Military Patronage
* Envisioning the Learning Environment, 1880-2005
* The Coming Surgical Room
* Hell House: Sin, Redemption, and a Lot of Fake Blood
* Where Does Experience Design Reside: In the Plan, Its Implementation, or the Experiencer?
While you send us your comments, were going to get going, developing TE in practice while we develop experience design in theory. Welcome to the relaunch of Total Experience!
-- Bob Jacobson, Co-Author
September 7, 2005
"Basically, I find that successful innovations tend to minimize the behavior change they demand of consumers."
While the preponderance of the article focuses on research related to too much choice, I found the most telling statement was the one above from the end of the article "When Product Variety Backfires" (Harvard Business School newsletter, may require registration).
The quote supports observations I've made that as we're designing 'new' stituations to replace 'existing' ones, we have to seriously assess those things that are valued in the current environment and find ways to carry those across to the new situation to minimize the "unfamiliarity" impact and decrease resistance.
"Miminimizing the change gap" is a critical axiom for our work, particularly where the design is for something other than entertainment.
** Paula **
posted by Paula Thornton |
September 2, 2005
Heartfelt concern and positive thoughts go out to the families whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. [All of my Cajun relatives were all but spared just as Katrina veered east.]
Without intent to diminish the dire circumstances of individuals whose lives have been drastically changed by this event, therein lies a great object lesson. Suddenly, there is no 'normal'. Moreso than recent catastrophies, the situation in New Orleans suggests that recovery may not only be long, but may simply not be worth it for some both for those with little and for those with 'more'. Some have quickly adapted and have used the upheaval to redefine their lives. A distant relative, a restauranteur, has moved his family into an apartment in Baton Rouge and is already pursuing new business plans there, with plans to permanently relocate.
While our professional goals tend to focus on trying to make things 'better', sometimes there is need to simply focus on survival -- to give singular attention to making basic corrections before adding embellishments, or perhaps to simply switch direction altogether. Often, businesses miss subtle 'survival' opportunities because nothing stops. Nothing draws attention to the situation.
When an o-ring fails on a rocket booster system, the results are catastrophic. Businesses can often operate for years with many just-ever-so-slightly-impared o-rings that manage to allow them to function perhaps less optimally.
And then again, sometimes, just as in the case of the fatal o-rings, someone has spoken the truth of the situation. From the 'inside view' of many companies I've often found an unspoken truth: denial. No one wants to admit anything that might be percieved as failure. Once in my career I discovered that a regularly published report had not been accurately designed (it was mis-reporting data). Once corrections were made, I was prevented from 'celebrating' the report corrections to the recipients (e.g. "We recently discovered and have fixed..."). I was forbidden from telling them that the reports had changed at all -- to do so would have supposedly implicated 'failure' on the part of the Director.
This is offered as a simple testament that the greatest forces of destructive turbulence are often quiet and unspoken. Our challenge may be a responsibility to infuse greater tolerance for honesty and forthrightness. Change is difficult, but deep pride presents a high hurdle that can trip up the path to a noble goal.
Where are the business writings on effective ways to mitigate and influence rampant pride? We need insights to relevant approaches to be more effective in our efforts.
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