Lens: Type: Characteristic

A person’s physical and mental condition.

Photo: Pixabay
man lying on couch with blanket over head sick

A person’s condition can change from day-to-day or even moment-to-moment. The condition aspect encompasses both physical and mental conditions. One prevalent assumption is that a person’s condition gets worse as they get older. However, people can make lifestyle choices that alter their condition. A person can work out and remain strong their whole life. Another person can eat a poor diet and practice unsafe behaviors, resulting in diminished physical and mental conditions. A person’s condition is not always a marker of their own choices. Sometimes, decisions others make can force people into situations that harm their condition.

Researching Condition

Researchers should be keenly aware of a person’s physical and mental condition with scope in mind. A condition like “I am hungry” or “I am itchy” can affect how a person interacts with design and others as much as a broken arm or chronic anxiety. Condition isn’t limited to medical maladies or daily ups and downs. A 44-year-old who runs marathons will likely climb three flights of stairs more easily than a 29-year-old who does not exercise, has a poor diet, and sits at a desk most of the day. When researchers examine a person’s condition as part of an experience design scene, they gain insights into symptoms often caused by other circumstances. Knowing these conditions can also reveal limitations people must deal with and opportunities for design to mitigate those struggles.

Questions to Ask About Condition

  • In what ways does this person’s condition affect their quality of life?
  • How much time or energy does living in this condition take away from other activities?
  • What is the person’s cognitive ability?
  • At what level can the person acquire knowledge and understand through thinking?

Look for These When Researching Condition

  • How well someone moves
  • How much medication a person takes
  • The way a person talks about their condition
  • The effort made to hide a condition


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

Physical Sciences

Frumkin, M. R., & Rodebaugh, T. L. (2021). The role of affect in chronic pain: A systematic review of within-person symptom dynamics. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 147.

Leonard, M. T., & Cano, A. (2006). Pain affects spouses too: Personal experience with pain and catastrophizing as correlates of spouse distress. Pain, 126(1), 139-146.

Moyen, N. E., Ganio, M. S., Wiersma, L. D., Kavouras, S. A., Gray, M., McDermott, B. P., Adams, J. D., Binns, A. P., Judelson, D. A., McKenzie, A. L., Johnson, E. C., Muñoz, C. X., Kunces, L. J., & Armstrong, L. E. (2015). Hydration status affects mood state and pain sensation during ultra-endurance cycling. Journal of Sports Sciences, 33(18), 1962-1969.

Social Sciences

Antico, L., Guyon, A., Mohamed, Z. K., & Corradi-Dell’Acqua, C. (2018). Beyond unpleasantness. Social exclusion affects the experience of pain, but not of equally-unpleasant disgust. Cognition, 181, 1-11.

McNeil, R., Guirguis-Younger, M., Dilley, L. B., Aubry, T. D., Turnbull, J., & Hwang, S. W. (2012). Harm reduction services as a point-of-entry to and source of end-of-life care and support for homeless and marginally housed persons who use alcohol and/or illicit drugs: a qualitative analysis. BMC Public Health, 12, 312.

Stewart, S. H., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2006). Anxiety sensitivity and its impact on pain experiences and conditions: A state of the art. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 35(4), 185-188.