VISION : The springboard of experience design

PILLAR #1  This is where we left off last time:

VISION : Pretty simple. What is your vision for this experience? What do you want it to feel like? Look like? Sound like? What should be the first thought that enters your audience/customer’s head in the very first moment? Getting to this type of vision is best achieved through the use of metaphor.
An event without vision is like riding the subway from Tribeca to the Upper East Side; frustrating and lacking connections (<—New Yorker). The vision is the glue that holds the entire experience together. In conjunction with your vision it is also quite helpful to have a goal or a desired result. When you start with the goal, you can create a vision for how to accomplish that goal.

It should go without saying that the clearer your vision the better the results. But I said it anyway:) An experience should be crafted to guide people to exit/leave/depart having gotten what you wanted them to get or done what you wanted them to do. It is simply about creating the intentionality around every moment in a way that leads them through from point A to point Z without question.

Vision can be articulated as:
How do you want the space to feel?
How you want people to feel?
What action do you want to inspire?
What physical outcome do you want to occur?                                                                                                                                                                                             ETC

There are many different levels of vision and if you are going to be as clear as possible you ideally need to address them all:

Level 1: Mega-Vision
This is your overall vision and description of the experience as it exists from beginning to end. This includes both an overall desired result (or outcome) and a figurative description of what it feels like (i.e. a pep rally of dreams, a conference and a carnival, NASA rocket launch).

Level 2: Section Vision
This points to the different parts of an experience that may or may not be directly reflective of the whole. In a consumer store environment there is the entrance, greeting, shopping, deciding, check-out, exit. At an event you have a similar entrance and exit, but there can be any number of different sections to the event that should have their own specific vision and desired result.

Level 3: Moment Vision
A time span of 5 to 60 seconds of impact. The moment when a decision is made, something is revealed, a program is received, a special item is picked up, a person approaching the bar/buffet, a special guest enters, any and all transitions. Each of these should be considered moments and must be intentionally crafted to achieve the extraordinary. (All Moments both inform and are a part of one or more Sections)

You may need to answer only one of the questions above (“vision articulated as:”) or all of them for any given level. But process wise, you should walk yourself through all of the questions to make sure you have an answer if you need it.

One of the greatest tools when it comes to expressing a vision is metaphor. Metaphor helps you both define the undefinable and to be more specific than might be possible through literal speech. A metaphor creates a much clearer picture of what an event or experience will be and it allows you to be more clear about details (before you even know what they are!)

When you say that something IS (blank): It is extremely effective in creating a visual and experiential starting point for a vision versus describing it literally or as “like” something. When you describe a vision literally, you are skipping ahead to the details (i.e. curtains hung from windows, dark, bright or colorful). These are the things that you use to create your vision, but they are not where you should start from. Similes or “like” statements are far less powerful than metaphor, which can be magical in its ability to create something from simply stating that it IS that.

In experience design, vision is quite literally the foundation of everything. You are the director and all other players (space, program, design, colors) must follow that vision. Be careful however, because as the foundation an unclear vision can cause the whole thing to come crumbling down (I enjoy hyperbole, almost as much as metaphor). Be on the look-out for Vision Challenge #1 tomorrow. There are many skills to learn and master if you wish to become a visionary, experience making, wizard. But even if you don’t, I encourage you to stretch your imagination muscles and learn to see the world in a whole new way.


Vision Challenge #1
What Do You See, How Does It Make You Feel?


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