Madrid, 24 – 26 September
A talk by Marc Hassenzahl
Wellbeing, Experience and Interaction – Designing meaningful moments
Designers have always been busy reinventing the world. While beloved and ridiculed visionaries of last century’s modernism, such as Buckminster Fuller, focused on better houses, better transportation, better food, efficiency and practicality, we now focus on the social and emotional life of people – their psychological wellbeing. Face it: We yearn to make people happy through design. But what does that actually mean? Is a new Porsches the way to make someone happy through design? Of course, for some it is. I rather believe that the mundane should be rejuvenated with more happiness. Coffee making, TV watching, a family dinner, the daily commute – any everyday activity can be understood as a possibility to feel closer to your loved ones, to feel competent, autonomous, stimulated, popular, secure, and healthy. Things can be put in place to subtly shape activities and experiences – at the heart of all this is interaction. Thus, the careful consideration of the experiential consequences of any design, how design choices impact activities, reshape experiences, create or destroy meaning and happiness, must become a standard. Experience is not an extra. It can’t just be turned off. It is the major outcome of any interaction with the world. At the same time the chance for more happiness lurks everywhere in our everyday lives. To realize this potential, however, we need to reconsider our understanding of what interaction and experience design actually is and what it is for.
Dr. Marc Hassenzahl is professor for Experience Design at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. He combines profound psychological knowledge with a love for interaction design. With his group of designers and psychologists, he explores the theory and practice of designing pleasurable and transforming interactive technologies. Marc is author of “Experience Design. Technology for all the right reasons” and many peer-reviewed papers at the intersection of psychology, design research and interaction/industrial design.