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Design for DaseinUnderstanding the Design of Experiences

Thomas Wendt

Phenomenology can be simply understood as the study of human experience. It attempts to describe the nature of experience in everyday life, from interacting with things to emotional states to cultural meaning systems. The application of ‘the study of human experience’ to what we call ‘experience design’ is somewhat obvious but has not been fully articulated.

This presentation will aim to make those connections. The main goals is to extrapolate similarities and differences between experience design and phenomenology, particularly post- phenomenology, to propose a new approach inspired by the best qualities of each. In the process, I will also offer a means of working through some of the dualist tendencies in design thinking, focusing on the nature of problems and solutions not as antithetical forces but as mutually constructing entities, and prototyping as a means of enacting praxis in real world behavioral situations.

Design thinking provides a way to think about an optimal design process that incorporates multiple epistemological sources. Phenomenology provides an ontological understanding of non-dualist design, in which humans and their world of objects come together to co-construct one another. The combination of these traditions creates a new, praxis-driven design philosophy. I will argue that the next evolution of design thinking is based on an phenomenological approach (via experience design), and likewise, the next evolution of phenomenology involves a specific consideration of design (also via experience design).

This presentation is part of research completed for my book, Design for Dasein. It is concerned with the relationship between design thinking, experience design, and phenomenology.

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