User Experience (UXSG) Singapore Meetup #7: Experience Design Through Senses

Finally, Singapore, here I come! On 5th December 2013, I had the great opportunity to attend the “User Experience Singapore (UXSG) Meetup #7 – Experience Design through Senses”, held by the UXSG Community Group, at Microsoft Office Singapore.

Practitioners from different fields and countries gathered all together at the cozy Microsoft office to share their stories about UX at UXSG

I was still in a state of disbelief at the fact that my first trip to Singapore was a sponsored trip and on top of that, during my first week of internship! I major in the subject of Mass Communication, so User Experience (UX) was a totally foreign area for me. I am grateful that my supervisors gave me this opportunity to attend this meetup in order to have a better idea of what UX is all about.

When I stepped into the Microsoft office, I was wowed by the colorful and avant-garde interior design. I was very impressed with the amount of people who attended the meetup, as I did not expect that many would turn up to learn about UX.

Frankly, I am a shy and reserved person by nature (Not kidding!). While trying to suppress the butterflies flying around in my stomach, I thought to myself, “Gosh… what do I do now? Take the initiative to approach people?” I gulped. Luckily, I was accompanied by my colleague not long after.

“Hi! What organization are you both from?” asked the man at the reception who greeted us with a bright smile.

“Oh, we’re from Netizen Testing,” I responded.

“Ah, I see. Here are your number tags. You’re from?”

“Malaysia.”

“First time to Singapore?”

“Yes – for her at least!” replied my colleague casually while pointing at me.

“Remember! When you order noodles here, you have to request without chili. Remember!”

“Huh?” I was stunned by his rather off-topic advice.

This was one of the funny episodes that I recall. Although it was awkward at first, thanks to this guy, I was not that nervous anymore.

The highlight of this event was when the organizer invited two great speakers to share their experiences on how UX played a large part in their respective fields and how they dealt with it.

The theme of the UXSG Meetup #7: Experience Design through the Senses 

The first speaker was Ms. Antonella Scarabelli. She is the co-founder and principal consultant of Insight2Market. The topic she presented was “Designing Flavourful Experience”. On the other hand, the second speaker was Mr. Damien Lock.

He is the academic staff of the School of Technology and the Arts, Republic Polytechnic. He talked about the sound design for Khoo Tech Phuat Hospital and ignition sounds produced for Electric Cars.

Between these two speakers, I personally found Scarabelli’s topic more interesting. She explained how the five senses of human beings (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) create multisensory experiences.

For instance, have you ever thought that the sound of eating Pringles can actually enhance its delicacy? Or did you notice that Coca-Cola places a significant emphasis on the sound effects of a bottle opening, drinking and burping in their advertisements? Our five senses actually work in the form of cross-modality to produce a super-addictive effect of congruent signals (1+1 = 3). Ultimately, this process leads to a flavorful experience.

Scarabelli (Right; holding mic) was doing a little test with five volunteers

The talk was indeed inspiring. After I came back from the event, I went online and searched for more information about the five senses in UX. I came across this video called “Jinsop Lee: Design for all 5 senses”. It is a talk by Jinsop Lee, an industrial designer who believes that great design appeals to all five sense of a human being. This video gave me a clearer overview of how our human senses affect a user’s experience. Hence, at the end of this blog post, I would like to share this video with you. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

GOOD DESIGN LOOKS GREAT, YES – BUT WHY SHOULDN’T IT ALSO FEEL GREAT, SMELL GREAT AND SOUND GREAT?

Designer Jinsop Lee (a TED Talent Search winner) shares his theory of 5-sense design, with a handy graph and a few examples. His hope: to inspire you to notice great multisensory experiences’ (TED 2013):

After the two talks, a small workshop was carried out. This workshop was to review the UXSG events and activities that have been held so far.

All of us were divided into 10 groups according to our numbered tags. There were three mahjong papers pasted on the wall, each written with “Things we should do more”, “Things we should do less” and “Never done before but hope to do”. Each of us took some sticky notes to write our personal opinions and pasted it on the respective papers.

After that, we voted the best 3 comments for each category as the significant key points.

During the workshop, I got to know my group members. Most of them were UX practitioners. There was also one who was a university student too. Although our occupations were different, we had a short but fruitful talk with each other.

Author: Netizen

We're an award winning UX research & strategy consulting firm in Asia, aspires to improve experience of the world by empowering everyone to build user-centric products through our innovation tools & approaches. We've been providing expertise to enterprises in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam & Philippines.