Memories vs Experience
Recently, I’ve been thinking and reading about the difference between memories and experience. A trip to Ikea is designed to with this difference in mind.
Shopping at Ikea starts with travelling out of town, then trekking across a huge car park which quickly gives way to great looking showrooms and lots of cheap colourful things to throw in your bag. Theres a cafe with coffee just as you start getting tired so you can rest before venturing into the ugly warehouse where you struggle to find and carry all the new furniture you want. Then you queue to pay and realise that you’ve spent twice what you’d planned to, but before you leave you treat yourself to an ice cream.
Once you get home and you’ve made all your new furniture, chances are your overall impression of the experience is favourable. This is due to the strategically placed points where Ikea’s store designers hope to trigger positive emotions.
We remember the high and low points and our overall impression of an experience is affected by their serverity and position along the experience’s duration.
This can be explained by how our brain works, it’s pretty lazy. When asked about our trip, effort is required to fully evaluate the experience so instead we use our memories as a heuristic. If we have a fond memory of eating ice cream or recall the feeling of finding a bargain then it is more likely we’ll respond that the trip was great.
We value memories over experiences, this explains why every gig is now a sea of glowing rectangles as fans frantically try and capture as many memories as they can.
I’m interested in ways I can use this difference in my work. When designing a process like a checkout can it trigger positive emotions to make the experience more memorable? When investigating a customer journey are there missed opportunities to create strong memories that will improve the overall impression of the experience?
Once a customer has achieved their task and left your website or app all that remains is memories. These memories will form their opinion of your company and influence them to recommend you to friends. If your customer feels nothing, they will forget you; make it easy for your customers to love you and design for memories.
More reading :
Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow