ux of Sensory Experiences

Time: September 30 – October 7

Brief: Design an experience that centers on human senses.

Partners: Nancy, Nayla, Sarah, Winnie

In our first week, we went on a field trip where we visited London Mithraeum, the Monument to the Great Fire of London, the Borough Market and Gabriel’s Pier. We had to design an embodied experience building on our travels through London, using different media to communicate our design ideas. The goal was to explore how we use our senses to perceive the world and look at the design in a broad range.

London’s Mithraeum

Our journey started at London Mithraeum, where we had an interesting experience in a dark room that, by eliminating our ability to see, put more focus on the sound of ancient voices talking and singing. The museum was designed in a way that allowed us to mentally travel back in time. From there we continued to the monument tower, where we climbed 311 stairs. Although the journey made me question my physical condition, it was well worth it. At the top, we were welcomed by the sun that made the experience quite different from the one in the museum. Standing up there was, due to the amazing view, quite fascinating. Shortly afterwards we ended up at the Borough Market, stopped for a bite to eat and continued to the pier.

Monument to the Great Fire of London and Gabriel’s pier.

At first, we were unsure of what to do, therefore we recorded as much as we could by using the camera, sound recorder and sketch books. We knew that we wanted to do some kind of a journey from dark to light.  We thought the idea resonated on many levels. The first one was kind of obvious since we literary travelled from the dark museum to the tower, but there were other meanings there, such as our journey from our homes to London, where a lot of us started ‘in the dark’, not knowing anybody, and are now slowly, by meeting new people and getting to know London, adapting to ‘the light’. We had a lot of ideas based mostly on our backgrounds. Some were connected with 3D animations, others with line graphs and similar representations of our experience.

Play Video

Creating the scene.

It all shifted on Friday, when we talked to John, who suggested that we should not be so focused on the screen and showed us a little dark room next to the classroom. We decided to use projectors to display the path from dark to light and we made a video with a mix of sounds from that day. To make the experience more real, we put a lot of people in the small room, which was similar to the feeling you have on the Tube, which we also used on the field trip.

Our final experiance. Photo by John Fass.

The feedback we received was quite positive, our classmates seem to like the idea and the fact that we used another room to make the experience better. They liked that we were able to include the whole class. Some other comments referred to the equipment, for example using four projectors instead of two, or using the ones attached to the ceiling.

I believe that this experience made me think outside the box and introduced a whole new chapter in experience design.