The number one, numero uno, most important thing to learn when it comes to experience design is “What do you see, how does it make you feel?” It is foundational to the creation process. Once you have mastered it for yourself, you will begin to master it for others. The ability to anticipate exactly how something will make another person feel is PhD level experience design know-how.
During the day today, I want you to begin to take notice of things that you usually take for granted. The things that are in your life, but that you do not consciously process on a day-to-day basis. (your front door, the color of a wall, a traffic cone). Then REALLY look at it. Notice the color, the shape, the texture, the size, where it is, etc. Describe what you see in your own mind. Not including the “what” that it is, not what you call it. But simply the things that you see. (i.e. “Hard, brown, metal object that is facing away from me with pictures taped to it)
This answers the question “What do you see?”
Now “How does it make you FEEL?” When you are looking at or are in the presence of what you are seeing,; does it make you feel safe, awkward, nervous, calm, anxious, hostile, loved, content, resentful? Even if you aren’t able to articulate exactly what you are feeling, just take a moment and feel it.
When you have done this entire exercise with 10 different objects in a variety of places, you will start to understand how things affect you. The color of your car impacts you, it is not just there and it is not random. When you are creating a experience, nothing can be random.
I am not going to sugar coat it; this is exceptionally challenging, especially when you first start out. But start to notice how the placement of objects, their color, texture, the meaning they could have for you and how they are used, affect you. Everything in the world affects you in some way, but if we were always, constantly aware of it we wouldn’t be able to think about anything else. That is why an extraordinary experience is magical for most people; they don’t know why it is amazing, but they know it feels/looks/tastes awesome!