Experiences belong to the people having them. Designers do not own the experience. Designers are not god and designers cannot design an experience someone else is going to have. The experience belongs to the person (or people). There inlies the ownership.
I have been looking at a lot of portfolios, business cards, blog posts, tweets and job descriptions. “I design experiences” is a phrase that really bugs me. With all the tooting and fan faring about ‘user centered design’ and putting people first, it is awfully bold for a designer, developer or manager to claim they will decide and thereby design what kind of experience someone else will have. How can we possibly define their emotions, their thoughts, their environment, their fears, their childhood memories, their little delights? Have we lost all sense of humbleness and humility?
However, experience is a very important element to consider, if not an essential part of a design framework, philosophy or value. The experience people have using a product or service is what I care about. Well, let’s also not forget all the people whom our work effects that are not necessarily users. I bet that is something ringtone designers think a lot about, the non-users. Anyone notice how the chimes and bells have gotten more office friendly? The dude in the cubicle next to you is a non-user but certainly effected by that ringtone. But, I digress. Perhaps we can design for an experience. The difference is humble intent.
Human behavior never ceases to surprise me. People will always use tools and services in a way we may not expect. We’re humans, we appropriate. And if we do indeed appropriate, how can anyone other than you ultimately decide what experience you will have?
Disputes encouraged. Photo [flickr_lulalola]