WE’RE ALL EXPERIENCE DESIGNERS, RIGHT?

From architect to software programmer to games designer to food engineer, we are all in the business of creating experiences that delight, are full of meaning, and that are hugely memorable.

Contrary to what one might imagine, there is no such thing as an experience designer. At least not in the sense that we might talk of an individual as recognised as such. Rather, the experience designer is part of a collective, and one that works in the physical and the virtual, integrating content with architecture, spaces with programmes. From architect to software programmer to games designer to food engineer, we are all in the business of creating experiences that delight, are full of meaning, and that are hugely memorable.

None of which ought to surprise us. We are, after all, living in the experience era. Be it a coffeehouse, student campus, workplace, website or city square, people are much more likely to question the quality of experience than its ability to deliver on a promise of an efficient result. Few of us choose where we study solely on the basis of a promise of a great degree. A fantastic salary is not to be confused with a fantastic job. Ditto that for the difference between a house and a home. It has always been thus, only now, and for reasons large and small, it is beginning to gain traction among makers: design is increasingly informed by our understanding of what people want and need of whatever it is we are making.

So, understand this: the growing demand for ground-up experience-led placemaking has changed the way we see. The spatial story is usurped by the temporal. We are no longer in the thrall of the designer as god. The place, whether real or virtual, is not just a place. It is an experience. It is informed by our capacity for ritual and myth. It engages. It transforms. It engenders transaction. It has value in and of itself, and its author, the trans-disciplinarian movement of experience designers, who and whatever that may be, is today’s newest superstar. Challenging the orthodoxy of function, the push for efficiency over all, it reasserts process over monument and product, expects the unexpected, and champions the spectator over the spectacle. We are – all of us – experience designers.


Image Credit: Walks101(Featured Image)

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