Consuming in the Age of Experience

by Tandy Banks

“Experience” is a word that is getting a lot of attention.  Dassault Systems adopted the label as the ‘experience company’ and their newest platform called the 3DEXPERIENCE.  During SOLIDWORKS World this year, one of the keynote speakers, Jinsop Lee, talked about designing while considering all 5 senses. Lee is an industrial designer who talked about how it’s not good enough to just make great products, it’s about designing the industrial designer experience.

His talk sparked my interest and led me to look at the world around me a little differently. Lee’s main visual tool was a grading matrix where he plotted the values of each sense during contact with things or activities.  The chart below is one that he shared contrasting two adrenaline-pumping activities that he experienced. Sensory magnitude and the impact is has on us is what often determines a good or bad experience!  Hopefully, you can guess the only activity that Lee rated as highest in all 5 senses:

Consuming in the Age of Experience
Upon returning home from SOLIDWORKS World 2015, there was a package delivered containing some items I purchased from Amazon. (I could probably write this same piece about the Amazon consumer experience alone).  I ordered a few connection/charging cables because I finally upgraded my mobile phone and needed a couple for travel.  These were inexpensive aftermarket cables from a known supplier.  My expectations were exceeded when I saw what was used to package the product.

Consuming in the Age of Experience 2

This “cheap” cable arrived in a well thought-out package, including nice graphics, custom box and thoughtful messaging.  The card shown in the middle was a folded, two-sided sheet with two sets of information. On one side was written the word “Happy?” This side detailed how to share your happiness with their product.  The “Not Happy?” included ways to get help.  Both sides listed multiple forms of communication for users to interact in ways that work best for them.

This is just one small example of “experience”, but I realize now more than ever that in our consumer-focused, experience-driven world, it’s the little things that make a huge difference.  I’m inspired to look for little ways to create a positive experience for others and hope you are too.

What have you experienced lately that exceeded your expectations?

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