Experience Design and the Sixth Sense


When designing experiences – regardless if it is for a place or event or product or service – you think about how it will be experienced across the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. All of these are important but what about the sixth sense? I don’t mean extrasensory perception or ESP but that emotional experience that may result from the sum total of other five senses or be a response to one or more senses or… sometimes seems to come someplace unrelated to the other five senses – extra sensory.

Emotions can seem irrational… a visceral reaction. But it is the emotional connection that creates satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. The best experiences are designed to deliberately evoke strong positive emotions like appeal, trust, and fun. Experiences with a strong emotional connection can create long-lasting customer relationships, fanatical advocates and long term recurring revenue.

People make many of their most important decisions about how they feel about things more than what the rational logic may tell them. And if the feeling is strong enough, they will justify their decisions to support their emotional connection.

If you consistently delivers a better experience than your competition, then your target audience will develop a high level of trust with you rather than them. If you consistently delivers a great experience, then you can win long-lasting advocates who will tell other about how great you are.

Your experience design – especially the sixth sense of the emotional connection – can either draw your audience towards your places, events, products and services or away from them.