This week, I was in Orlando, Florida for two reasons, to meet with my project clients at Give Kids the World and to attend the TEA SATE conference at SeaWorld. My goal with the conference was to learn how the industry works and be able to gain some insightful design knowledge about how I should be tackling my independent study. The theme for this years SATE conference was the Experience Recipe. The event was designed to spark the imagination with fresh, new "recipes" and techniques for creating groundbreaking experiences. The sessions blended Storytelling, Architecture and Technology to show how rich, diverse projects are created. The presenters, an eclectic panel of "mixologists," curated a diverse menu serving up a feast for the senses to satisfy audiences' taste for adventure, discovery and fun. This innovative approach was inspired by hot trends in hospitality, retail, food, costumes/fashion, scenery/theming and even horticulture, inviting participants to broaden their thinking and explore beyond the boundaries of traditional attraction design.
When it comes to experience design, the people i.e. the guests are the biggest component of it. We are building the experience for the guests and we should always keep them in mind when we are making the design decisions. Some of the interesting things that I picked up about how to drive people to explore while I was at the conference are to create social and shared experiences, guests rarely want to do experiences alone; emphasize the small moments in your experience and combine them to give the guests a journey through the the experience, let them be in there for the long haul and discuss the journey in the experience rather than the goal of the experience.
But since my independent study is focused on the technology behind the experience and how to integrate it in a way to create even more immersive and interactive experiences let’s talk about how technology can be used to create better experiences. My biggest takeaway from the conference was to find opportunities in the technology and use it for something that it is not being currently used and also to give people ownership in the experience, allowing them to create something that they can keep as a memory of the experience are very strong tools.
The most important question we need to answer while designing an experience is what is technology going to be used for. Technology can be used to educate the consumer about a product or a topic. It can be used to provide a multi sensory experiences to the guest, give them very personalized experiences that they know nobody else had. Technology can be used as an ingredient in the experience, it can just fade away into the experience without being the focus of the experience. Technology can also be used to solve problems and alleviate the guest’s woes. And not just the guest’s woes but also the employees as well. The technology could also be used to amplify the memory side of the experience. Technology can be used to cater to different kinds of audience.
I have received a lot of good advice on what I should be focusing on and how I should create a good experience. I will be using the next few weeks to brainstorm a few ideas and then paper prototype them to see if the experience is designed well and to quickly iterate on the design.