Experience Platform aims at better user experience

23.01.2018
Krista Kinnunen

The new Aalto University Experience Platform brings together experience-related ideas and research topics.

Experience Platform Project Manager Markus Ahola and Chair Virpi Roto.

Human experiences extend to all areas of human life and make life meaningful. Positive customer experience is the success factor for long-term business success, and a well-designed product or service makes your everyday life smoother and more enjoyable. Today, consumers and businesses invest in experiences that enhance subjective experience and well-being rather than in material possessions.

Aalto Experience Platform is an open community, that fosters and promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to experience understanding and design. The platform serves Aalto’s internal and external parties as a contact surface and provides access to Aalto’s high-level experiences research within different disciplines. It is aimed at researchers, businesses and anyone who is interested in what experience is and how to develop its research and design. The aim is to bring researchers and businesses together and thus produce better products and services.

Experience research is not new in itself. For example in psychology it has been studied for a long time, as is customer experience within economics. Also in the field of arts experience research has long traditions. It's no coincidence that the Platform promoters have been the Deans of the School of Business and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

"The task of the university is to create the future, and this requires creative combination of different disciplines and approaches. The idea of Experience Platform is to bring diversity into the experience research as well as into the cooperation between different parties, and that Aalto University can offer. Our mission is to make Aalto a world leader in multi-disciplinary experience research, measured by relevant international indicators and societal impact”, says Project Manager Markus Ahola from the Experience Platform.

There are a number of good examples about Aalto's multidisciplinarity, for example that fashion designers and material researchers have found each other. Their co-operation can, in the future, produce more easily and more efficiently recyclable and smarter clothing. Researchers and designers of different fields can also visualize how user interfaces should work in the future, or how basic everyday equipment should be designed.

Experience as a concept

Experience is a familiar term, but what is it really, and how is it studied and produced?

"I have noticed that the perception of experience is often quite limited. The Experience Platform is aiming at that all our basic everyday routines and devices, products and services would be better designed, so that everyone will have better experience and pleasure both in work and everyday life, "Ahola summarizes.

There is a mind-set transition from problem-solving to experience driven design for the user and the consumer. What matters is human experience of the service or in the use of the product and the product itself. The role of design is emphasized: how the designer's vision of the experience of a service or product can be realized and passed on to the end user. The platform also aims at developing commonly used metrics for measuring experience and analyzing experiences.

"It is important to find human experience in all design, whether it's a paper machine or a digital service interface. It's about identifying where a human comes into the picture, "Ahola points out.

According to Ahola a good example of the importance of experience design is a cruise ship. "It has been specifically designed for experience: everything on board aims at leaving the passenger a good experience. Thus, experience is the end product, "Ahola describes.

The subject is close to him, as he has been researching the safety experience of cruise ship passengers. Ahola himself is an industrial designer for whom multidisciplinary approach is familiar. His doctoral thesis places in the interface of engineering and design. For the past six months he has been building up the Experience Platform.

“Last autumn I examined what kind of experience research there is in Aalto and how to communicate it within Aalto and out. Now the pieces have come together and we will have a Kick-off 13 February, where we invite people widely. It is a good opportunity to meet new partners and get ideas on what experience is in your business or research, "Ahola inspires.

“All Aalto schools share the need for understanding, measuring, and designing for experiences, and the platform helps to distribute this knowledge. In a welfare society, understanding human experiences and expertise in designing for experiences is increasingly important.”

The Experience Platform has an Academic Board, consisting of professor members and deputies from all Aalto Schools. They act as platform contact persons in their schools and help in distributing the knowledge. The platform chair is professor Virpi Roto.

More information of the platform can be found on its website, including inspirational video series providing versatile perspectives on experience research. The videos can also be used in teaching. Furthermore, Ahola reveals that there will be a series of info events coming up, the subjects of which will be public soon.

Experience Platform Kick-off: programme and registration.

Date: Tuesday 13.2.2018 at 13 – 18

Venue: Dipoli, Lumituuli auditorium, Otakaari 24, Espoo 

Contact:

Project Manager Markus Ahola, Experience Platform, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, tel. 050 401 1435

experience.aalto.fi

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