Experience Design and the Sixth Sense


When designing experiences – regardless if it is for a place or event or product or service – you think about how it will be experienced across the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. All of these are important but what about the sixth sense? I don’t mean extrasensory perception or ESP but that emotional experience that may result from the sum total of other five senses or be a response to one or more senses or… sometimes seems to come someplace unrelated to the other five senses – extra sensory.

Emotions can seem irrational… a visceral reaction. But it is the emotional connection that creates satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. The best experiences are designed to deliberately evoke strong positive emotions like appeal, trust, and fun. Experiences with a strong emotional connection can create long-lasting customer relationships, fanatical advocates and long term recurring revenue.

People make many of their most important decisions about how they feel about things more than what the rational logic may tell them. And if the feeling is strong enough, they will justify their decisions to support their emotional connection.

If you consistently delivers a better experience than your competition, then your target audience will develop a high level of trust with you rather than them. If you consistently delivers a great experience, then you can win long-lasting advocates who will tell other about how great you are.

Your experience design – especially the sixth sense of the emotional connection – can either draw your audience towards your places, events, products and services or away from them.

Persona Walkthrough


The other day I was helping a good friend and colleague with a “persona walkthrough.” A persona walkthrough is when you “walkthrough” your experience assuming the role of the persona. In this case, we were walking through an online experience. We started with a persona named Sally. Sally is a “Soccer Mom” – she is married with children and spends a great deal of her time coordinating activities for her children. We first discussed how Sally came to find out about the company’s service – did she do a search that took her here or did a friend recommend it. This is important to know because it gets into Sally’s frame of mind – or mental model.

The most important part of an online experience is the first impression which is usually the home page. The home page must:

  1. Look professional. Yes – the visual appearance is the most important thing. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good visual design, and therefore, a great visual designer. If your first impression does not look professional then you just lost Sally and most other personas, too. Sally has gotten use to Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. – and you have to be that good… otherwise she clicks away to your competitor.
  2. Clear brand. At-a-glance, Sally needs to confirm that the name of your website matches her expectation. Don’t be too clever with your logo where Sally can’t quickly make out the name. She wants to be reassured that this is the right place for what she is looking for. The logo of most sites are in the top left – that is where Sally and most everyone else is going to be looking for your brand to confirm that they are at the right place. More than just graphic design, a good brand design professional is a good investment.
  3. Tagline. Usually next to the logo is a tagline. A good tagline describes what your products or services does in one concise sentence. Don’t get too clever with this either. Be direct and use plain English. Sally needs to know what you do for her – not what you do – but what you do for her. Working with someone who has a strong marketing and business development background can help you develop your value proposition and messaging can go a long way to retaining Sally and others like her.
  4. Clear call to action. OK, you have convince Sally that you are legit with a professional looking site, confirmed who you are with a professional logo and provided a tagline that clearly states your value to Sally. Congratulations! She hasn’t left your site at her first glance. Now you need to give Sally a clear “call to action” – make it very clear what she needs to do to get what she wants. This may be Search, Learn More, Buy Now or whatever Sally most wants to do to complete her goal. By the way, Dave’s goals may be different and he may need a different call to action. Having good content writers can ensure that you get your call to action right. And a good interaction designer also ensures that the interactions are what Sally (and Dave and others) expect.

I recently did a persona walkthrough for a UX Boot Camp. Same process: I assumed a persona of a guest of the boot camp and thought through how they found out about the event; website experience; online sign up; how they would find the location; parking; the path to the entrance; front door experience; registration experience; etc. The same principles applied. The same applies to a store experience, hospital experience or a ride at Disney. :)

I will be talking about this in more detail at my next UX Boot Camp, May in Orange County. We are still working out the exact date and location.

What to Expect at a UX Boot Camp

Here is what you can expect at the UX Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs this Saturday, January 23 at PIRCH headquarter (9620 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 100 San Diego, Ca 92121):

08:00 AM – 09:00 AM: registration, continental breakfast, a little networking…

09:00 AM – 12:00 PM: presentations, hands-on activities, and a little fun

12:00 PM – 01:00 PM: lunch in the UTC

01:00 PM – 05:00 PM: more of what we got in the morning with some surprises. 😉

We will cover everything from strategy through operations and tactics:

We hope to see you there.


How Do You Design Great Solutions for People?

We can only design great solutions for people when we have a deep and detailed knowledge of their needs. Each new generation of solutions improves based on market and customer feedback. But how do you do this? What is the process?

There is a hierarchical structure of activities, tasks, actions, and operation to better understand customers’ interactions with your solutions:

  • Understanding the tasks of the activities helps understand the customers’ intentions
  • Focus on activities your customers perform rather than their requests
  • Systems that support the activities support the people who perform them
  • Understand the activity and the solution is understandable

At the UX Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs Saturday, January 23 in San Diego, Sean will thread the needle from people to technology and explain every step from definition to design to development.


Do You Have the Right User Experience Strategy and are You Spending Your UX Dollars Wisely?

Forrester Research, research has shown that 70% of projects fail due to lack of user experience and every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return. So how do you ensure that your organization doesn’t fail at user experience and are spending your dollars wisely?

Are you familiar with Balanced Scorecard? Balanced Scorecard is a system that aligns specific business activities to an organization’s vision and strategy. Using a scorecard helps organizations balance their strategic objectives across four perspectives: Financial, Customer, Process, and People.

You may already be using a Balance Scorecard to manage your business objectives. A User Experience Balance Scorecard maps your user experience strategy to your business and aligns UX process and skills to customer satisfaction and financial growth.


At UX Boot Camp Saturday, January 23 in San Diego, Sean will walk you through every step of developing a UX strategy tailored for your business needs. We will discuss the business perspectives of your organization’s business strategy to increase revenue and reduce cost through customer attraction and organization optimization with user experience best practices and processes


A Focus on User Experience Increased Conversions by 350%


Skinit was ranked #25 by Forbes in 2011 as a Most Promising Company. They make personalized adhesive logos and other artwork for consumers to stick onto cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and other electronic gadgets with distribution partners that include Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft and works with sports teams and entertainment firms like Disney to sell branded designs. Currently they are a multi-million dollar company. In 2007, a focus on user experience changed everything for this company.

Skinit was founded in 2005 and by 2007 the company was preparing to enhance their web-based application that allows consumers to upload their own photos and manipulate designs for their personal electronic devices. The objective was to enhance the features of the new solution and provide an intuitive interface to increased conversion. To do this, they followed user experience best practice and saw a 350% conversion with the new design! Paul Buss, the CEO at this time said

“Increasing the conversion of our Customizer application not only increased revenue it also enabled us to provide a more compelling customer experience which has driven significant interest in new and existing partner programs.”

It was “interest in new and existing partner programs” that made Skinit the giant it is today.

We will talk about how Skinit did this in detail and how you can do it to at the upcoming UX Boot Camp Saturday, January 23 in San Diego. Register now at Eventbrite.

Small Companies can Deliver Great Experiences just like Apple



Did you get a chance to catch me on Real Talk San Diego1700 AM Friday, December 3 from 11 to 12? If not or if you want to hear it again, you can download the podcast here:


It was a fun and lively discussion. We discussed how User Experience encompasses all aspects of your customers’ interaction with your brand and how small companies can do this, too.

Apple and Amazon started as small companies – a few people in a garage. Steve Jobs, one of the co-founders of Apple and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, focused on delivering great experience from day one. They instilled this in their companies DNA and you can see it the results.

Small companies can do the same. Make a commitment to your customers’ and users’ experience: Have it as a part of your business strategy; Make sure every employee knows what your company’s brand means and are empowered to deliver it; and measure it – constantly – so you can pivot quickly – fail fast and succeed even faster.

If you want to learn more about how your organization can do this then join us Saturday, January 23 in San Diego for a UX Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs. It is a one-day course with hands-on activities to learn UX best practices and develop a customer experience for your organization. To learn more about UX Boot Camps, please visit www.uxbootcamps.com. To learn more and register for the UX Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ux-boot-camp-for-entrepreneurs-tickets-19091738905.


User Experience encompasses all aspects of Your Customers interaction with Your Brand

User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. It is an approach that puts the user at the center of the design process and incorporates user concerns and advocacy from the beginning. User experience includes everything that the user can experience – the visual appearance, interactive behavior, and assistive capabilities.

According to Forrester Research:

“70% of projects fail due to lack of user experience.”
Rich Internet Application Errors to Avoid, 2008

“Every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return.”
Customer Experience Index ranking Watermark Consulting, 2013

Your customers are having an experience with your brand, products and services regardless if you are consciously managing it. Organizations that purposely determine and develop the experiences that they deliver to their customers have higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy and consistent long-term growth.

Companies like Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Disney, Macy’s, Whole Foods, etc. all deliver exceptional experiences to their customers. They do it by thoughtfully determining, crafting and continuously measuring the experiences they create. They know all their touch points with their customers – and they know their customers intimately. They do this by listening to their customers across all channels and devices and constantly evolving their services and products – in real-time or near real-time and customize them to the individual. They sort through big data and use predictive analytics to help them make good decisions and automate the process as much as possible.

Like this conversation? We will be discussing this and more on Real Talk San Diego 1700 AM with host Clare McKee Friday, December 4 at 11 am.

If you are interested in a one-day, hands-on course to learn how you can create long-term sustainable market and revenue growth by delivering experiences that attract and delight your customers into advocates then join us for a UX Boot Camp Saturday, January 23 in San Diego. Learn more at www.uxbootcamps.com.

Sean Van Tyne on Real Talk San Diego 1700 AM Friday, December 4 at 11 am

Hey everyone!

I will be on Real Talk San Diego 1700 AM with host Clare McKee Friday, December 4 at 11 am. We will discuss User Experience: what is it; why is it important; how do companies like Apple, Amazon and Starbucks create great experiences; and how can you do it, too?

I will also be talking about my upcoming UX Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs Saturday, January 23 in San Diego that will help you create long-term sustainable market and revenue growth by delivering experiences that attract and delight customers into advocates.

Tune in to ESPN 1700AM or listen online at realtalksandiego.com/listen-live

Emotional Connections at Co-Merge and UX Boot Camps for Entrepreneurs

I got a coupe of events coming up that I want to share:

Emotional Connections
Tuesday, November 10
5:30 – 6:30 pm.

The talk will be Based on Jeof and my book, The Customer Experience Revolution, I will share how companies like Coke, Mini Cooper, Intuit and more develop deep emotional connection that create loyal advocates. We will discuss:

  • How emotions determine what we purchase
  • The stages of the customers emotional journey
  • How you can develop deep emotional connections with your customers to create loyal advocates

UX Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs
San Diego
January 23, 2016

This is a one-day course with discussions and hands-on activities to learn UX best practices. We will go over agile ways to quickly determine and develop your UX strategies and integrate the right amount of just-in-time UX processes to meet your business objective and to deliver the optimal experience to your customers. Please visit www.uxbootcamps.com to learn more.

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