woman looking out window thinking

People: Meaning-Making

Scenes Actors People
Lens: Type: Theme
People: Meaning-Making:

Peoples’ worldviews and self-concepts shape the ways they make meaning in different situations.

People view the world around them and define themselves differently. Experiences are phenomenological and constructed in people’s minds. People make sense of experience design scenes internally and form opinions of these experiences through reflection. Because human experiences are perceived and internally constructed, the process of meaning-making has the potential to override or at least significantly color other aspects of experience design scenes. Within the meaning-making theme, aspects address people’s view of the world as well as their personal, inner selves. Worldviews and social structures shape individual identities, and aspects within meaning-making reflect this relationship between the “outside” and the “inside.” (Berger and Luckmann, 1990).

The AoE4D meaning-making theme compiles aspects from a range of disciplines that seek to answer how people developed and their beliefs. These aspects are social—collected from empirical research that describes how people are formed based on their interactions with people, objects, and contexts. Meaning-making directs designers’ gaze toward how people learn who they are and how they relate to others in society.

People: Meaning-Making

People: Storytelling

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

People: Meaning-Making



Magnifying Glass

Culture Values


Self-Concept Worldview
People: Storytelling


Attention Attitude Subjective Norm Abilities

Magnifying Glass

Intention Role


Sensations Mood


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


Lenz, E., Hassenzahl, M., & Diefenbach, S. (2019, May 4–9). How Performing an Activity Makes Meaning. Proceedings from CHI’19.

Norman, D. A. (2013). The Design of Everyday Things (Revised and expanded edition ed.). New York: Basic Books.

Norman, D. A., & Verganti, R. (2014). Incremental and Radical Innovation: Design Research vs. Technology and Meaning Change. Design Issues, 30(1), 78-96.

Social Sciences

Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1990). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. (Kindle ed.). New York: Open Road Media.

Berger, P. L. (2011). Invitation to sociology; a humanistic perspective. (Kindle ed.). New York: Open Road Media.

Cantor, N. (1994). Life Task Problem Solving: Situational Affordances and Personal Needs. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(3), 235-243. doi:10.1177/0146167294203001

Hagström, T., & Stålne, K. (2015). The Generality of Adult Development Stages and Transformations: Comparing Meaning-making and Logical Reasoning. Integral Review: A Transdisciplinary & Transcultural Journal for New Thought, Research, & Praxis, 11(3), 30-71.

Park, C. L. (2010). Making sense of the meaning literature: an integrative review of meaning making and its effects on adjustment to stressful life events. Psychological Bulletin

Psychol Bull, 136(2), 257-301. doi:10.1037/a0018301

Stangor, C. (2014). Principles of Social Psychology (1st International Edition ed.). B.C. Open Textbook Project. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/socialpsychology/

Tromp, N., Hekkert, P., & Verbeek, P.-P. (2011). Design for Socially Responsible Behavior: A Classification of Influence Based on Intended User Experience. Design Issues, 27(3), 3-19. doi:10.1162/DESI_a_00087

Turner, J. C., & Reynolds, K. J. (2012). Self-Categorization Theory. In P. A. M. V. Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology, Volume 2 (pp. 399-417). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi:dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446249222.n46

Tye, M. (2000). Consciousness, color, and content. MIT Press.

Tye, M. (2003). Consciousness and persons : unity and identity. MIT Press.