a street at night in Portland, OR

Context

Scenes Actors
Lens: Type: Actor
Context:

The physical spaces, ideas, and prevailing attitudes of a place and time affect experience design scenes.

Photo: Carl Larson
a street at night in Portland, OR

The places where people interact with design objects can have a profound impact on their experience. When eating at a restaurant, the noise level can enhance or detract from intended experiences. Context isn’t limited to physical spaces. Within a specific context (time and place) attitudes and norms can all shift with different events and movements. Do not ignore the effects of the context that surrounds activities when implementing design objects, studying people, or considering a time and place to integrate a service.

People and the products, services, and systems they use exist in a setting—the physical environment and situations in which interactions take place. These external factors can profoundly impact people’s decision making and the ways design objects function. For example, bustles were in vogue in the mid-to-late 19th century. During this period, a woman was fashionable if she wore a bustle because bustles were the norm. Of course, bustles aren’t in fashion today. If someone were to go out in public wearing one today, they would look a little strange.

Different fashion styles are indicative of the setting in which they existed. People who lived in those settings didn’t get to choose what fashion was in style—the setting (in this case, norms) defined what was popular. Norms are just one way that setting can impact people and design objects. Let’s take a look at setting and better understand ways it can influence experiences.

Characteristics and Behavior

Observations can produce descriptions of actors. Designers can document things like physical size, style, and makeup. Actors’ characteristics and behaviors directly define what they are and how they are working. However, they fall short of revealing more profound aspects of who they are, why they are, and their function in experience design scenes.

Click on any of the aspects to learn its role in experience design scenes at the characteristics and behaviors level.

Actors
Context Characteristics
Context Behavior
Context

Characteristics

Location Laws Size: Context Non-User Actors Available Resources

Behavior

Climate Sensory

Experience-Level Aspects

A designer with experience mindset researches and designs with the tangible and the intangible in mind. When researching experience design scenes, these aspects can be targeted using different design research methods. Designing for complete experiences does not neglect these aspects. Instead, products, services, and systems are designed to align with these aspects and consider them as essential drivers for design decisions.

“Seeing” these aspects requires taking different perspectives—putting on a set of “lenses.” Bifocals, a magnifying glass, and a stethoscope enable the viewer to see different things. Explore scenes using each set of lenses to reveal new details about actors in experience design scenes (Gilmore, 2016).

Click on any of the aspects to learn its role in experience design scenes at the experience design level.

Theme
Bifocals
Magnifying Glass
Stethoscope
Context: Setting
Time
Interconnections Hierarchy
Social Norms

Research Context to Learn...

a ruler

Constraints

A design concept is planned. How should we make the design? What about the context and people must we not ignore?

Read MoreConstraints
a busy rail station with lots of people

Discoveries

A need for design has not been established. What innovation is needed that's not already there? Where are pain points and opportunities?

Read MoreDiscoveries

Sources

References and sources that support the inclusion of this Aspects of Experiences for Design component.