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The 10 Fundamental Needs in Human-Centric Experience Design

by Eliot Mannoia // December 10, 2023
viewing time: 5 minutes

A woman is sitting at a table and is working with a laptop and tablet. A child is hugging her from behind.

© Eliot Mannoia

How do you create memorable and influential experiences for employees or customers? We use principles of psychology to put people at the center of the entire digital transformation. Making your company more successful.

Our lives are changing faster than ever. New technologies, AI, innovations, or wider macro-factors like remote working.

To ensure that we adapt to these changes in a human-centric way, we must consider how our behaviour, expectations and experiences are affected by these changes.

To support and promote human-centricity, we have created a framework that is based on fundamental psychological needs.

We call it the 10 psychological dimensions of experience architecture.

Why architecture? Because an experience without intentional design is like a journey without a map or a purpose.

Therefore, experience architecture with the consideration of key psychological needs will ensure optimal experiences.

The 10 Dimensions

It all starts with trust, the foundation for any interaction we have with another human, a product or service. Can I trust the doctor with a given procedure? What about the car that we’re buying, will it keep us safe? Or the small things, like will this umbrella keep us dry?

What about emotions? Think of the powerful emotions that Apple products stir in their customers. There is passion, excitement, joy, pride to name a few. Positive emotions can drive greater loyalty, forge stronger relationships, and can elevate an experience significantly.

To improve the trust and the overall experience we need to consider if all expectations are met – will I get what I ordered online when I expect it? In a world where more and more is available to us on demand, how are our expectations changing?

And how accessible is a given touchpoint for your employees or customers? Are you providing an inclusive experience? Are all needs being met? This is closely linked to usability, ensuring a user-friendly interaction for all and driving performance of desired results.

We then have perception which can include the tactile experience, how a product feels in your hands. Or the colours or fonts used on the packaging. Or other senses like how a hotel reception smells. These first impressions can quickly shape opinions, undesirable or desirable.

The next dimension is simplicity. Each step may be user-friendly but perhaps there are too many steps? Think about online stores that optimised and became more user-friendly, and how Amazon still made it even simpler by introducing the one-click buy innovation.

Engagement is a fun dimension where we can use the powers of storytelling or gamification to engage with our stakeholders building deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Providing certainty in a given touchpoint for a product, service or process can have a calming affect on people. As uncertainty is closely linked with fear, which is a powerful emotion. How can we reduce uncertainty and reassure our stakeholders. Is the plane delayed for 20min. or 3 hours? Where can I get support? How long does my warranty last? Providing certainty can lead to a considerably more enjoyable experience.

Reducing unpleasant surprises and creating memorable positive surprises can boost satisfaction and drive word-of-mouth marketing. Small examples include getting a hot towel or a warm cookie at a hotel reception. Maybe new employees receive free merchandise when they start. There are many great examples here. What other random acts of kindness or humour can you incorporate to elevate the experience and improve your competitiveness?

Methodology: The importance and weighting of each dimension will depend on the industry; and if you are trying to improve the customer experience – by looking at a product, service or post-purchase support. Or if you are looking to optimise employee experiences.

We suggest evaluating each dimension, like going through a checklist to ensure that key human needs are considered. Then explore how new technologies and AI solutions could be used to better meet human needs.

It’s about digital humanism. And considering human needs first, and then technological solutions will ensure greater success.

We are confident that doing so will improve the experiences of your employees and customers, leading to a greater overall performance of your business.

We’re your digital psychologists and we look forward to hearing from you!

BrandKarma Experience Design Architecture Framework

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