UX Design For Physical Experiences & Experiential Marketing | Sean Pruen | Skillshare

UX Design For Physical Experiences & Experiential Marketing

Sean Pruen, Experiential / Film / Creative Director

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12 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Experiential Marketing

    • 3. Great Ideas

    • 4. Narrative

    • 5. Moments

    • 6. Immersion

    • 7. Interaction

    • 8. Positive Attitude

    • 9. Visual User Journeys

    • 10. Class Project

    • 11. Inspiration

    • 12. Conclusion


About This Class

This 12 part class is geared towards creative people who want to understand more about designing experiences, interactive installations, immersive theatre shows, live performances or museum exhibits.

This class looks at UX design for physical experiences, from experiential marketing activations to interactive art installations. It looks at inventive ways to illustrate your concepts and ideas for use in pitching and sharing your creative vision.

What you will learn in this class:

  • Theoretical concepts and practical approaches to designing immersive experiences
  • The process of responding to a commercial brief and formulating ideas
  • How to present your ideas with logic and clarity using visual user journeys
  • Tips for good production workflows
  • How to get inspired 

Who is this for:

 The thoughts and ideas in this class can actually be applied to many creative work as long as it is to have an audience.

There is a core focus on audience and thus will be beneficial to any creative who's work ultimately has an audience.


1. Introduction: Hello, and thank you for taking a look at my class. My name is Sean Peren and I'm a creative and film director represented by innovation studio, unit 9. I create experiences for a living and I have been working professionally in this field for over a decade. Throughout these classes, I am providing both theory and practical tips for things I've learned over the years of a particular focus on user experience. Our user experience, or UX will probably make you think of things like apps, websites, and product interfaces. However, the work I produce, it's for the physical world. I design a massive experiences and interactive installations for an audience physically and collectively present. I use complex cutting edge technology to deliver engaging narratives and strive to give audiences something captivating for them to remember. Whether you are interested in creating immersive experiences, installations, museum exhibits, or engaging live shows, hopefully, these classes will help you with your design process and ideation. The classes concentrate on the end user. I believe that they'll be beneficial for any creative whose work ultimately has an audience. I discuss my five key principles that I abide by when designing experiences and how you can better sell and explain your idea to clients and your production team using visual user journeys. I will also be providing a project in the form of a creative brief and a can't wait to see how you respond to it. I love my job because of the variety of things I get to do and be a part of. Every project is vastly different from the last and I'm constantly learning new things. I apply my user experience knowledge to a broad range of creative executions because good UX means giving your audience's something engaging that they would enjoy. For me, audience engagement is the most important part of experience design. Sit back and enjoy the classes. Thank you. 2. Experiential Marketing: Over the last decade or so, brands have shifted a good chunk of their marketing budget into an exciting avenue. A type of communication both old and new with seamlessly endless possibilities at hand. A form of advertising that taps into something that everyone once in their lives creates experiences. Branded experiences can be many, many things; live performances, art installations, audio-visual spectaculars, escape rooms, museum exhibits, immersive theater shows, unexpected stunts, interactive dinners, scientific experiments, and athletics tournaments. They all have one thing in common, an audience experiencing something in the physical world. Branded experiences aside, people on our digital world are seeking to go outside again, leaving their screens in search of something new to try offline, ultimately so they can share their experiences back online. At its simplest level, this is what brands are exploiting. The idea that if you provide a physical place for people to have a rewarding experience then those people will talk about your brand in a positive light. People do not want to be told what is cool from corporations, they want hear it from an authentic voice. Their friends, peers, influences that they trust. People that have just had a great experience, just they happened to be facilitated by a brand. This idea has quickly become the strongest commercial influence in the world of advertising today. brand awareness through authentic voices. So how do you land your message with your audience without it getting forced? From my point of view, many get it wrong. Many so-called experiences, miss the mark and treat their audience without the respect that they deserve and forces them to unnaturally experience the so-called experience. Over the years, I've developed a set of principles which I try to abide by when sense checking my creative ideas for experiences. The next five videos, look a these principles in detail. 3. Great Ideas: Good ideas can be found fairly easily but great ideas are very hard to come by. Great ideas both answer the brief and stick in people's minds because they are simple, intriguing and clever. We have two main types of clients, brands direct and preferences. When I receive a brief, I always asked the same three questions. What does he wants to say? Who do you want to say to? Why do you want to say it? If a brief does not have these questions answered, then it's going to be impossible for you to respond with a well-rounded rational idea that will ultimately become a good piece of communication. Often, other agencies will come to me with a very loose idea which needs quite lot of developing and thinking about with practical production minds. Sometimes, they come to me with nothing more than an executional idea and, or a specific technology that they've seen and want to use. For example, we want to do in a projection mapping show because we think is cool, or we want to do something fun with a movement reality because that's what's hot right now. This is not a brief. What do you want to say? Who do you want to say it to and why do you want to say it? Ideas first, technology and execution second. A good way to evaluate a great idea, is to run it past the one-sentence test. Here are some of my previous projects summed up in one sentence, "Celebrating 30 years of Air Max on the building of which it was inspired by. Basically experience the Mercedes F1 garage for nothing but sound. The first running track to train the mind." Sentence tests works, because a big idea is the backbone on which all the execution or and practical details are then attached. The big idea is the quick sell, the PR headlined. the heck on social media, that gets people going. That sounds cool. I want to know more. 4. Narrative: Every creative piece of communication needs a narrative. A story to guide you, a story to tell. However, unlike traditional or linear communication such as film, experiences can offer a non-linear narrative. For me, this is hugely important because this variation and how your audience uncovers the narrative allows people to have ownership of their experience. Just like in real life, people don't want to be governed by a strict path. Keep the audience motivated to engage by giving them the freedom to explore in a natural way. Let them discover the narrative. An experience I designed for the audio brand JBL and Google Assistant,was intentionally made very non-linear. An experiential Halloween party in the centers of an old East London town hall. Guests were invited to explore the labyrinth of tunnels. Discovering terrifying and surprising moments along the way, eventually ending up in the main party space to share their experiences with each other. Everyone had a slightly different experience which made for really interesting conversations. 5. Moments: Human exploration leads to defining moments and moments are what make experiences memorable. Moments are surprising, emotional and personal to us. A moment simply cannot be put on a plate for someone,"Hey, look at this, don't you feel happy now?" No, moments are discovered by us as humans. By gently guiding your audience to where to look and not what to see, you can connect with your audience at a deeper emotional level. Discovered moments will be remembered and also shared. I call this concept shareable by design. To me, one of the greatest examples of this is the Weber project by artist Anni Alber Alison that was displayed in the Tate Modern Gallery in London. The installation consisted of an illuminated disk, some hides, a mirrored sealing and was visited by thousands of people. What's so brilliant about the installation was the universal understanding of the subject matter. Every person on earth has some memory, associated feeling or emotional connection with the sun. Alison created an experience that triggered emotional responses by tapping into people's personal experiences. He immediately provided a focal point for a universal audience to have a moment in and out or rediscover personal moments from the past. Very simple, very imaginable. 6. Immersion: An experience should take people away from the norm and stimulate their senses. Again, thinking about the breadth of who your audience might be, people understand their surroundings and information presented in different ways. Some people are more visual and understand the world around them through pictures. Some people listened better, they like to be told things and some also appreciate the feeling they get from something. An experience should cater for all three of these ways that people understand information visually, auditorily and kinesthetically rewarding your audience. An installation I created to promote the Bose noise canceling headphones is a good example of this. People entered a blank room filled with nothing but the noise of the Mercedes Formula One garage. They were told to switch their noise canceling headphones on to cut out that noise. They were free to walk within this space, listening into conversations between F1 engineers, crew and drivers, a non-linear journey of discovery. Ultimately it was a sound experience that all sounds well illustrated by projected visuals triggered by the attendance's position. When the car was ready to go out to, race a secret sub woofer drove the feeling of what it's like to stand next to a formula one car going out to race. A visual, auditory and kinesthetic experience. 7. Interaction: It's debatable, but I believe that all experiences have some level of interaction within them. Whether you're pressing buttons on a touchscreen or clapping a live performance, running on a treadmill or standing under a swinging light, your very being there means that you're interacting with your surroundings. Audience interaction should always be three things, simple, intuitive, and hugely rewarding. If I've been asked to do something that's tricky and the result of my action isn't great, I walk away feeling frustrated and disappointed. One of my favorite uses of interaction that I have designed is for project I make first that [inaudible] The concept was to give the people of light polluted cities a starry night sky at Christmas time. Guess simply reach their hands up towards the canopy of stars above their heads, trigger them to descend upon those possession. The installation was visually stunning, and what was great survey was that almost 100 people could interact with it at the same time. Each discovering the rewards without any direction at all. The people discover the interaction by themselves. Those are my five pillars of reason for what I spend check my days for experiences. In the next class, I will be explaining a little bit about my process, looking at how I find the inspiration to come up with ideas and how I presented these ideas to clients. 8. Positive Attitude: Looking back on my career, I've actually been designing experiences for people most of my life. When I was a kid, I created a dinosaur museum in my bedroom cupboard and I invited people to crawl in and experienced the prehistoric world I've created inside. As a teenager, I loved to set up parties or raves and hand paint UV imagery on sheets and project weird VHS content on them. At college, I discovered installation art and for my final show, I created an immersive experience about the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, an event that I'd actually witnessed when I was two years old. While others were doing painting and sculpture, I was messing around with light, sound systems, small machines and building sets. I like the idea that art could be multi-sensory, an immersive experience. While at art school, I found myself moving away from the fine art world, I got into film and animation. It was always something I really loved. I built sets for the MA film students, taught myself how to use camera equipment and create animation using tools like Adobe Flash and After Effects and edit digital video. Shortly after leaving university, I landed my first paid job as a runner, tea boy in a post-production house in London, Southall. My general, yes, I can do that attitude, got me promoted to a studio assistant where I helped build sets, props, and assist on live TV shows such as Nickelodeon. I was very much learning on the job as I had very little experience. With my editing and motion graphic scales getting a bit better, I moved into doing that full time, working on content, TV commercials, and music videos. I got involved in anything that got me more production experience. Eventually I landed a full-time job for a production company called Be Real. I found myself creating motion content for screens that were not your usual 16, 9. I was making stuff for LED screens, projections, video walls, and dynamic lighting rigs. It was exciting and I felt very innovative at the time. It was great because it combined my love for all things audio visual with the physical environment that you could reach out and touch. Over the years that followed, up until now, I've been involved in a massively diverse range of projects. Everything from a massive interactive experiences, museum exhibits, large-scale projection mapping shows, in camera effects for commercials and live broadcasts. This in part is because I am lucky enough to be represented by Innovation CVA UNIT 9 a cutting edge production company that consistently produces amazing stuff and subsequently it gets breeze through that door of amazing creative potential. Go check out their work. However, it's not all about the glossy brands. Any brief has the potential to be made into something great. Hands down, my favorite part of this job is seeing the audience's reaction. It's not something you get to see with a lot of other creative work. I've always been really interested in how an audience reacts and responds to what's in front of them and I am forever asking the question, how do I make stuff that people will care about, reacts strongly to and what to tell their friends about?. Although I work in advertising where I'm ultimately trying to sell stuff to people, my number 1 goal is to give the audience something special, an experience that sticks in their minds, and that they want to talk about. I design user experiences in a world that combines the physical and the digital. A unique cyber advertising that is very different from the normal above the line, traditional, play it safe advertising you see on TV. When experiential marketing is done right, it doesn't feel too much like advertising, which is why I like it. As a director, I hire people all the time to collaborate with me on my projects. I work with both industry experts and with people that have less experience, work placement students, people fresh out of college, people who were like me when I was starting out in this business. People who are hungry to work hard and learn quickly. Self-motivated people that go that extra mile to get their hands dirty and to enjoy the process and the challenges. For me, a positive motivated attitude is everything, whatever the level of expertise. 9. Visual User Journeys: As a director, one thing in particular I utilize all the time, which is incredibly useful for many reasons, is user journeys. User journey is a way of clearly and visually selling your idea to clients, and making your production team understand your creative vision, and how we define your vision with your creative team. Communication is hands down the most important thing in production. Communicating to your clients, your team, and your audience, the smooth running of any production comes down to good communication. When designing user experiences, clarity and logic are key and the creative treatments that I create to present ideas to clients, I explain the creative and new acts for a clear narrative. A step-by-step user journey, of what people will see, hear and feel. These used to be hand-drawn storyboards, but now I fully pre-visualized in 3D. I find the sketching in 3D because it makes a greater sense of the final experience. Is three-dimensional user journey, can it be used for other production, for everyone involved to understand the end goal. The client understands what they are paying for, producer understands what they need to cost up, the lighting team know where to put the lights, the sound team know where to put to speakers. They whole team want to have building and the film team know how they can treat it. Everyone understands the creative vision clearly. In 2018, I designed the Asics Blackout Track, an experiential experiment that stretched long distance runners from any distractions, forcing them to focus purely on their own. Surrounding the main track, we had a product area of warm up space and destruction removal zone. This was all designed to pre-visualize before hand. But we also went a step further and exported free 60 imagery, from the 3D files and took them down to the actual location, where the event was going to take place. Here the client was able to use a tablet to dynamically Look at the previous realization, like a window into the future to see how the event would actually look. For the clients, they could not be there on that day, we also sent out headsets so they could navigate the space in VR, giving a true sense of scale, something that you don't normally get from video [inaudible] or still renders. The less you write and the more you show, the easier it is for everyone to be on the same page about your ideas, which are often hard to put into words. 10. Class Project: We've already spoken about. I want to open this up to you, but set you a brief to respond to it. This is actually a stripped down version of a brief I received a few years ago to create a exhibition for a well-known magazine. A project that didn't unfortunately happen probably they don't happen a lot in the world of advertising. There are many iconic photographs that define generations and will live on for many more instantly recognizable moments in history. Pivotal moments in photography as a medium, important social history, and stunning autistic beauty. I would like you to design an experience based around one iconic photograph. The experience can be passive or interactive, but it must be more than just a picture hanging on a wall. How you approached this brief is up to you and there is no right or wrong way of responding to it. Just think about how you can take that iconic photograph and bring it to life in a freedom space. Give you idea of title one sentence please and then go on to explain your idea of a visual user journey. A stage by stage, moment by moment account of how a person would experience that. Takes of mood boards, hand-drawn sketches, 3D renders are all fine whatever you feel comfortable with. Just make sure that you reflect upon those five principles I mentioned in the previous classes. To be fully clear, what do we want to say? Photography, takes you there. Who do we want to say it to? Universal audience who are familiar or maybe not familiar with this iconic image and why do we want to say it? To celebrate the idea of capturing incredible moments. Please share the questions and if you want to run ideas pass me before you get going, I'm here to give guidance and constructive feedback. If you're stuck for ideas, check the next class to understand how I go about finding inspiration. Good luck and I look forward to seeing, what you produce. 11. Inspiration: Coming up with ideas is my job. Sometimes I pitch one idea, sometimes I pitch a dozen. They all need to answer the brief, be original and inspire the client to actually cough up the cash to pay for it. When an idea clicks, it is satisfying. It's very easy to pitch an idea you believe in. But coming up with ideas, you need inspiration. That spark that sets your mind racing with the creative flow. The question I get asked a lot, is where do I get inspiration from. The truth is, I don't go looking for it, I find it. If you seek inspiration, you rarely find it. The harder you try, the longer it will take to find. Inspiration hits you when you're in motion doing stuff. Creating your own inspiration. It doesn't matter what I'm doing, it's just important that I put myself in situations where I'm more likely to get hit by bullets of inspiration. Call it an attitude to have more creative luck. There are many things I do to improve my chances of stumbling across inspiration. They're also quite a few things that I try not to do. Let me start with that latter, namely the internet. The internet is full of amazing pictures, sounds and videos showcasing the best work out there. It can be seen as something very inspiring. However, if you are trying to come up with a fresh original idea, the internet is not your friend. The internet by its very nature is a seeking tool. So by actively looking for inspiration on it, you fall into that trap of making it hard for yourself. This is not to say that I haven't found inspiration online, it's just launching Google to find inspiration doesn't work. On a side note, one thing I do do, is I save images as I go. During times when I'm just simply browsing the internet and not looking for anything in particular, I might stumble across something cool and I will save that image. For the last five years or so, I've been saving Images to Tumblr. I recently moved all those images over to Google Photos and now I have a searchable library of images that have inspired me over the years. Inspiration often comes in unlikely situations. My work more often than not is targeted at an adult audience. However, many of my ideas have actually come from observing my children. I have two boys and looking at how they see and experience the world is very inspiring and has often triggered inspiration for projects. I find that tapping into the inner child resonates well when designing user experiences for physical spaces. It's about bringing the curiosity of the world back into people's consciousness, and allowing them to touch things in an explorative, childlike way. Like I said, it is just getting on with something that can trigger inspiration. The inspiration is out there looking for you, not the other way round. 12. Conclusion: I appreciate that throughout these classes, I have discussed quite abroad range of subjects, within the world of user experience. But I hope you have taken something away that resonates within your own work and creative aspirations. Hopefully, now you understand the importance of thinking about your audience. How to give them better experiences through non linear narratives, discovered moments, immersion, and interaction. How you visualize your journey can help sell your ideas, and also explain your creative vision to the wider team. Most importantly, how a simple great idea is the backbone of any experience. In the commercial context, experiential marketing is not something that's going away anytime soon. Like so many of the media trends, apps or VR for example, people will always want experiences. I feel very lucky that I'm in this business. I think first is at the very least of inspired team, and if you've enjoyed them, please add your comments and I'll see you again soon, because of more shared enzyme. Thanks very much.