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Define the word

It's not easy to define "experience design" and other, related, terms and these definitions are definitely in flux, but Nathan Shedroff has done a very good job trying to do so....

His definitions forced me to reflect on what comes first when looking at good design.
One thing is of course form and function which compared to the word “Experience” in my world would be placed in the lower part of the pyramid. But is there something exceeding “Experience”?

What about “Emotion”, “Value” and “Meaning”?

If you are a designer for what reason do you design? If you are a company for what exact purpose do you produce?

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Hi there ( great blog been watching you... hej magnus)
The word Experience has troubled med since the whole fuzz over The Experience Economy - because as you point out, design goes beyond experience. To me it seems that the use of the word experience, is a way of insufficiently trying to describe the balance between form and most important aesthetics. You mention emotion/value/meaning could they not be summed up as aesthetics?

Posted by: nanna Munnecke Barlby | Jul 11, 2005 7:43:06 PM

Hi Nanna,

I'm not sure I agree that design goes beyond experience.
I believe that design - as a process - can be used as a tool/method to create and "stage" experiences. Howevever, design - as a result - is merely a part of the experience i.e. a visual/physical evidence of the experience.

It's really interesting! Cant you eloborate a bit more on your view on this? Any one else?

Posted by: Magnus Christensson | Jul 12, 2005 2:04:34 PM

Hi Magnus
I agree on your definition. When I speak of aestethics is is because it is the one part of the experience that is allmost undefineable - my teacher Lisbeth Thorlacius at the Danish designschool uses the word "interference" to explain it.


Design as a result is as you say evidence of the experience but - and now it sounds corny - the interference could be described as the result of the experience.

Posted by: nanna Munnecke Barlby | Jul 13, 2005 8:54:02 AM

The term "interference" is really interesting.

I dont know the full depth of your use of the term but the physics-related definition on wikipedia gives me the feeling that the process of design is the "interference" that - if masterly controlled - can choose to either interfere constructively to create a result which (amplitude) is greater or to interfere destructively to do the opposite.

The "interference", the design process, needs to be masterly controlled so that the result and the experience of the result is not ad-hoc/a coincidence but instead over-deliver in relation to the needs of its audience/customer.

In this sense I see "interference" as the process that result in an experience which is consciously created by a designer/design team. But maybe I dont see the whole picture?

Is it the aesthetics it self or the process of creating the aesthetics, that is the interference you refer to?
I guess the aesthetics it self shall interfere with its audiences expectations and thus effect the audience in one way or another?

Posted by: Magnus Christensson | Jul 13, 2005 11:05:53 AM

I agree with Magnus that form and function are a part of "experience", and Hans is right to mention emotion, value, and meaning as aspects of experience. Nanna I think rightly points out that "experience design" requires some kind of balance between these various aspects.

The other important point, which Hans raises, is purpose, which is what I think Nanna was trying to get at, suggesting that experiences result in some kind of "interference", or change. And Magnus adds that this change can make things better or worse off, but it is intentional and that one thing we should try to do is exceed the expectations of the people we are designing for.

Anyways, that's what I understand has been said here. There's much that can be said about experience design, but I think several key points have been outlined here.

Posted by: Rick Pan | Jul 31, 2005 10:12:11 PM

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CPH127 is a sense-making initiative. We aim to create a open dialogue around the profound understanding of the leadership, organization and strategy of creative business functions with the aim to create new value (for customers, employers and stakeholders.

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