With the fast pace and degree of constant excess that we are exposed to on a daily basis, we are emerging into an age where humans are simplifying their lives according to what they value.
The majority of us are no longer looking to have more, be more, and experience more; but in fact, we are now striving for more simplicity. We are prioritising. Perhaps it was Covid that got us here – that made us realise that what is important are friends, family, love, and connection – some would even say a reboot of the set of values that have driven popular culture for the past 50 years or so.
This difference in values has shifted the entire digital product design process. With an estimated 9 million mobile applications available worldwide, consumers have a massive amount of choice and accessibility to apps and digital products. If a product does not align with someone’s value, they will immediately move onto the next thing. It is crucial for product designers and developers to understand the user’s experience and the importance of their values that ultimately drives decision-making when choosing a product.
Before a potential user adopts a product, there are a number of different questions that they may ask, potentially:
- Will this product improve my life?
- Will this product free up my time?
- Will it help me communicate more efficiently?
- Does it connect me to my community or a new community?
- Does it bring me joy?
If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, the product gets adopted. If the product meets their expectations, the product retains its users. Product adoption and retention is all about the experience that the user has while using the product, this gives rise to a key design and development principle that is guiding new products entering the market today. This is conscious experience design.
Product designers are using the principle of conscious experience design to develop products centred around the human needs, expectations, and the common values of today. This principle aims to humanise technology and digital products. Conscious experience design results in digital products that are more personalised, immersive, intelligent, and even transformative. These qualities highlight some of the guiding principles of conscious experience design:
- Personal innovation
- Insightful intelligence
- Natural immersion
- Communal systems
Let’s take a closer look at these principles.
Personal innovation allows a product to become an extension of your personality. While using the product, the user has the opportunity to participate in the design of the interface. This allows them to completely shape their product experience based on their values and needs. Their personalised product becomes their authentic expression.
Insightful intelligence is the interface of human consciousness and machine consciousness, your experience, and awareness interacting with machine learning. Now, this sounds like a far-fetched ambition for a digital product experience, but this is the reality for the majority of new digital products. Artificial intelligence (A.I.) systems are built into the product allowing it to recognise and interact with the user to essentially build a human-machine relationship.
Natural immersion looks at the integration of a user’s real world with their digital world by using their senses. Virtual reality and augmented reality gave rise to the concept of user immersion, creating a ‘new world’ inside the user’s real world. Removing all the special headsets, natural immersion uses what is immediately available to facilitate an engaging connection between the user and product. Natural immersion uses your voice, touch, and facial recognition to create an immersive experience.
Lastly, communal systems are all about recognising a basic human need, to be a part of a community. It is our intrinsic nature to want to share, relate, and find a deep connection with others that is based on trust and shared values. We don’t want to be a part of a hierarchical system where relationships are predetermined. This is evident in more decentralised technologies and open-source systems where users feel as if they are a part of an ecosystem made up of mutually beneficial relationships, as this makes us feel valued.
In a world where technology has been made to connect us, many of us have actually felt more disconnected. This has made us re-prioritise our digital product use, to choose the products that bring us back to human connection, that help us grow, learn, save time and join new communities.
Using the principles of conscious experience design, formula D_designs people-centred experiences that immerse audiences through digital media and tech-exhibits. With this approach, major global challenges, like climate change and sustainable development can be brought to an audience through an immersive experience that will deeply resonate with them.