The creative industries are following the trend exhibited in other fields of economic activity by increasingly focussing on selling ‘experiences’ rather than ‘objects’. Typically, this shift results in immersive products which include elements such as narrative, space, media and/or performance within an overall presentation characterised by audience agency and an aim of sense-making.
Experience Design, the planning and production of these experience-centred, immersive productions, is a new and essentially interdisciplinary academic field meaning that almost all current practitioners originally trained in a different (albeit related) single area (e.g., architecture, theatre, UI design, etc.) and have developed their interdisciplinary expertise through a process of individual research, experience and reflection. This necessarily limits the availability of suitably skilled practitioners and there is a growing sense that appropriate training needs to be developed to support the continued expansion of the sector.
This paper aims to support this pedagogical development process by examining a range of planning processes and tools used the disciplines which contribute to experience design together with recently developed tools from the experience economy. Suggestions of ways existing tools might be extended to accommodate the wider range of media and contexts typically encountered in an experience production are presented. An ‘experience model’ is proposed to support the analysis and identification of key elements of immersive experiences and the paper concludes with a provisional identification of a core set of key design tools and techniques which experience designers might employ across the range of current immersive practice.