Think of Experience Design scenes like a play or a movie. These scenes involve actors and they have a start, a middle, and an end. Every scene exists for a reason. While some movies may be about mundane, everyday things, others can tell epic stories. Sometimes, design is used to do something simple like buying a coffee. Other times, it can be used to simultaneously connect millions of people as on a social media website.
Every Experience Design scene involves three actors: people, objects, and context. The details that comprise these actors are complex. Some features are real and can be measured, while others are perceived and socially constructed. Designers who wish to create and research holistic experiences must account for the real and perceived qualities of Experience Design scenes.
Let’s meet the actors in experience design scenes.
These aspects describe the physical makeup of contexts, people, and designed objects as well as ways they behave.
Any participant in an experience design scene. A person, object, or context.
Qualities that can be observed, measured, and articulated.
Ways people, objects, and contexts act.
The physical spaces, ideas, and prevailing attitudes of a place and time affect experience design scenes.
A place and time where an experience design scene takes place.
Physical and social conventions that govern settings.
The dimensions of physical spaces where experience design scenes take place.
People and objects in a context that are not the user.
Materials available for use in a setting.
A person's internal and physical identity.
How long a person has lived.
A person's biological sex.
A person's race based on physical appearance.
A person's sense of their own gender.
A person's physical size.
A person's physical and mental condition.
Ways people relate to others and how they perceive themselves in those relationships.
Emotional and/or romantic attraction to another person.
Ways people are connected to others.
A classification based on a person's social and economic status.
Facts, information, and skills a person has acquired.
A person's distinctive character.
Anything designed—a product, service, or system.
An object's distinctive appearance.
Physical materials that comprise a design object.
The physical sizes of things and service durations.
These aspects describe experience-level qualities of contexts, people, and designed objects.
Four experience-level themes within experience design scenes.
Aspects of experiences that can be seen using common methods.
Aspects of experiences that are the heart of an actor.
External factors that can affect people and design actors in experience design scenes.
The duration of time in which experience design scenes take place.
Unwritten "rules" that define acceptable behavior.
Peoples' worldviews and self-concepts shape the ways they make meaning in different situations.
The bank of words and gestures a person knows and uses.
People during goal-directed activities.
Concentration on the activity at hand.
A way of thinking or feeling about an activity or design object.
What a person believes others will think of them when they perform a behavior.
Competence or skill to complete an activity.
The moment-by-moment interaction between people and designed outcomes.
What is the designed object's purpose?
How possible is it to use the object to complete an activity?
How relevant is the object for those who use it?
How well does the object function for those who use it?
What does the Object mean to those who use it in a context?
References and sources that support the inclusion of this Aspects of Experiences for Design component.
Janlert, L.-E., & Stolterman, E. (2017). Things That Keep Us Busy: The Elements of Interaction. The MIT Press.
Callon, M. (2004). Actor-Network Theory: The Market Test. In J. A. H. Law, J. (Ed.), Actor Network Theory and After (pp. 181-195). London: Blackwell Press.
Latour, B. (2008, September 3). A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Toward a Philosophy of Design. Proceedings from Networks of Design meeting of the Design History Society, Falmouth, Cornwall.
Ritzer, G. (2004). Actor Network Theory (Encyclopedia of Social Theory). London: Sage.
Goffman, E. (1973). The presentation of self in everyday life. Woodstock, New York: Overlook Press.