The Mechanics of Experience Design

4 min read

The mind is blind. As a singularity, it does not make decisions. The mind receives impressions from human senses that produce emotions and relays the conclusion and instructions from the intellect that determines a logic. This means that people are more likely to purchase and repeatedly purchase products or services, and within its ecosystem, the more their sensorial experiences are evoked. Brand loyalty, in fact, is earned by continuously evoking sensorial experiences of the people. 

An experience is simply a process that people go through while being evoked with senses and achieve an outcome. Visual sense through the eye. Auditory sense through the ear. Tactile sense through the skin and body. Taste sense through the tongue. Olfactory sense through the nose. By evoking the senses, emotions are formed that gives the impression to people’s mind if the experience is pleasant or painful, and influences the mind to decide to purchase products/services and stay loyal to the brand. It does so by clouding the intellect to make sense of new logic that justify why this purchase makes sense. When the purchase functionally benefits people, the mind justifies the purchase and tells you that it “made sense”.

When people go through a branded experience, they form expectations of the brand based on emotions (if it is pleasant on the sensorial level) and logic (if it’s functionally beneficial from how the value proposition benefits them). If it’s a pleasant experience, people set higher expectations and standard to what is considered the current state-of-the-art. If it’s not a pleasant experience, people set lower expectations and standard. Brand loyalty is built this way - from the trust that the experience will be as expected, and beyond expectations. This inevitably leads to growth in revenue, customer acquisition, retention, referrals, and activation - the 5 key drivers that define modern marketing (or these days called growth hacking or digital marketing).

Since an experience is made from logic and emotions, people return to continue experiencing the brand through touchpoints. A touchpoint is a point of interaction between people and a brand delivered in tangible and intangible mediums. A website, product, email, staff are examples of a few common touchpoints. In essence, people experience a brand through touchpoints. Hence, every touchpoint needs to be designed based on its intention, and how one touchpoint connects to each other. The design of touchpoints is where multidisciplinary design approach is required from systemic level to aesthetic level in the form of product, service, environment, architecture, fashion, to name a few.

Multiple touchpoints connecting with each other enables people to interact with the brand from a medium-of-choice is called omnichannel. This gives the rise of commercial phenomena of omnichannel experience, where brands strive to build, maintain and optimize their omnichannel experience through omnichannel strategy powered omnichannel solutions.

Businesses are made of people. People’s decision-making is influenced by their emotions and usually justified later with logic. For companies to become valuable brands like the likes of Nespresso and Tesla, they need to provide a pleasant experience continuously through their touchpoints. These touchpoints need to be designed in an ecosystem, both as a singularity and seamlessly transitioning between touchpoints. Performing this aspect well leads to brand loyalty and growth. The secret is, after all, to design experiences that evoke the senses of people that bypass their logic. The first step is to empathize with people.