While everything, technically, is an experience of some sort, there is something important and special to many experiences that make them worth discussing. In particular, the elements that contribute to superior experiences are knowable and reproducible, which make them designable.

These elements aren't always obvious and, surely, they aren't always fool-proof. So it's important to realize that great experiences can be deliberate and are based upon principles that have been proven. This book explores the most important of these principles.

The design of experiences isn't any newer than the recognition of experiences. As a discipline, though, Experience Design is still somewhat in its infancy. Simultaneously, by having no history (since it is a discipline so newly defined), and the longest history (since it is the culmination of many, ancient disciplines), experience design has become newly recognized and named. However, it is really the combination of many previous disciplines; but never before have these disciplines been so interrelated, nor have the possibilities for integrating them into whole solutions been so great.

Experience Design as a discipline is also so new that its very definition is in flux. Many see it only as a field for digital media, while others view it in broad-brush terms that encompass traditional, established, and other such diverse disciplines as theater, graphic design, storytelling, exhibit design, theme-park design, online design, game design, interior design, architecture, and so forth. The list is long enough that the space it describes has not been formally defined.

There are, at least, 6 dimensions to experiences: Time/Duration, Interactivity, Intensity, Breadth/Consistency, Sensorial and Cognitive Triggers, and Significance/Meaning. Together, these create an enornous palette of possibilities for creating effective, meaningful, and successful experiences.

The most important concept to grasp is that all experiences are important and that we can learn from them whether they are traditional, physical, offline experiences or whether they are digital, online, or other technological experiences. In fact, we know a great deal about experiences and their creation through these other established disciplines that can-and must-be used to develop new solutions. Most technological experiences-including digital and, especially, online experiences-have paled in comparison to real-world experiences and have been relatively unsuccessful as a result. What these solutions require is for their developers to understand what makes a good experience first, and then to translate these principles, as well as possible, into the desired media without the technology dictating the form of the experience.

Glossary of Experience Design terms

 

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