Jiawei L.
Professor Kristian Kloeckl
Experience Design Studio 1
30 September 2023

The Experience Design Studio 1 course has enhanced my understanding of the relationship between people and technology, and experience design, and in doing so, answered questions that I have pondered for a long time in my previous work.

The first aspect is the study of people. This requires understanding people and respecting their reactions to technology. I worked with colleagues from a number of different departments before. I found that working with my marketing colleagues was different from working with my R&D colleagues, as they were further away from the technology and closer to the human being, and therefore struggled with workflows involving systems and data. I had spent a lot of time improving systems and workflows without realizing that the difference was due to differences in what colleagues in different functions were exposed to, what they were good at dealing with, or how they thought and behaved. “Much academic framing of technology plays down this side of the relationship between people and technology in favor of something more objective” (McCarthy and Wright 2). Focusing on technology rather than people and attempting to change people is not a wise method. We need to understand people and focus on the relationship between people and technology, and the experience, to have a chance of solving problems by providing a better experience through design.

The second aspect is how to truly balance the relationship between people and systems. In my previous work, I had to create a systematic set of design repositories, and even patterned workflows, in order to meet business needs with limited resources in the midst of scaled-up and expanded business needs. But the problem often arises in how to find a balance between the system and reality. Do we allow “exceptions” to a design? In fact, these “exceptions” are due to the fact that the system was not designed for more complex situations, and did not provide the appropriate capabilities during the previous generalization process. Waiting for the system to improve before making adjustments often frustrates the business side, which does not care about the uniformity and continuity of the system’s rules. However, “the best experiences are not scripted at corporate headquarters but delivered on the spot by service providers” (Brown 110). The point of a system’s existence is not the system itself, but the experience it provides for people. Leaving some space for flexibility also leaves space for the diversity of human needs. Finding the balance between people and technology and making the experience both stable and flexible is a huge challenge.

Last but not least, the third aspect is participatory design, or co-design. This idea inspires me that when designing a product experience, it is possible to physically ensure the participation of non-designer perspectives, rather than just having them passively involved in the design process through research. As a development trend, “the shift to participatory design is fast becoming the norm in the development of new products. The same is true of experiences” (Brown 115). Involving interested people in the design process is critical to the success of the design. By incorporating different perspectives, design solutions will be more inclusive and reflect the needs and desires of users. At the same time, there are whole new ways of how information can be gathered, such as the “smell map”, “Smellmap: Amsterdam is an artwork that explores individual and shared interpretation of place” (McLean). This can also be seen as a fresh approach to helping us understand the perspective of the participants. Exploring innovative design approaches to ensure that all voices are heard and considered can be more effective than designers working alone.

There are so many things I have learned and been inspired by in my Experience Design Studio classes and group work that this short post is just three of them. These aspects are not actual design practices, but reflect my appreciation of design principles, my search for answers to difficult questions, and my curiosity about something completely new.

Work Cited

Brown, Tim. Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation. Chapter 5: Returning to the surface or the Design of Experiences, HarperBusiness, 2009.

McCarthy, John, and Peter Wright. Technology as Experience. Chapter 1, 2007.

McLean, Kate. SMELLMAP: AMSTERDAM—OLFACTORY ART AND SMELL VISUALIZATION. Royal College of Art and Canterbury Christ Church University, U.K.