Experience design in practice

An experience is a very personal thing. Designing experiences for an audience requires creativity, imagination and ingenuity. Here are a few examples where design experience has been deployed.

Immersive theatre

The immersive theatrical experience is popular these days.

The following three shows offered a unique experience to the theatre-goer, completely different from a traditional theatre production. These productions took a different approach from one another.

  • The Drowned Man by Punch Drunk: audience members wandered through the set, ideally on their own, over several floors of a building. Although acted scenes carried on around you no matter where you ventured, there was no logical sequence. There was every chance that you might miss key scenes (identifying the murderer) but this mattered little as the set itself as well as the scenes you did witness were all engrossing.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Les Enfants Terrible: the audience moved in 4 groups of 10 through the set pieces, walking up and downstairs, sitting on cushions or stools, or simply standing. The groups witnessed different scenes but came together to watch major scenes.
  • You Me Bum Bum Train – a single audience member went through the production as the ‘passenger’ and during an evening only 70 passengers went through. 450 volunteers participated in over 20 scenes, their whole focus on giving the passenger a unique and personal experience.


Museums are strong proponents of giving visitors an experience where they can relate to a subject.

In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium, as a visitor you assume the role of someone who lived during World War One, learning of their experience as you wend your way through the museum. It is only when you get to the end of the trail that you find out whether you/your character survived or died.

Flash Mobs

Flash mobs may have had their day but they are still fun, taking an audience by surprise.

This T-Mobile ad shows a flash mob in action at a train station. The intent was to promote T-Mobile by entertaining and making an impression that one would not forget. Even after several years, I still remember this example.

To see how this can be used by the knowledge management profession, see

Experience Design for Knowledge-Sharing