The Gensler Research Institute have announced the results of its first-ever Experience Index, confirming that design has a quantifiable impact on experience. By Sophie Killip
Within their Research Institute, Gensler – the global architecture, design and planning firm – have created their own Experience Index, hoping to identify the main forces behind a ‘great’ human experience and providing a clear framework for understanding how individuals experience various spaces. As the first research of its kind, the Gensler Experience Index combines the known drivers of creating a ‘human experience’ (product, brand and service quality) with a new factor: design.
“The way people work, shop, and live has evolved dramatically — and our clients are constantly asking ‘How is design the differentiator in creating great experiences?’” says Andy Cohen, Co-CEO at Gensler. The investigation combined qualitative research – such as 30 two-hour interviews with individuals in five markets across the U.S. – with quantitate research that included a panel-based survey of over 4,000 respondents. The findings revealed that design is a significant, distinguishing factor between participants having a ‘good’ experience and a ‘great’ one.
On average, participants who regarded the space they visited as ‘extremely well designed’ rated their overall experience twice as high as those who thought the space was ‘poorly designed’. If locations had a unique design feature, visitors were more likely to share their experiences on social media; for retail spaces, they were ten times more likely, and for workplaces, they were six times more likely. Specific design factors were a major impact on the quality of experience – spaces labelled ‘beautiful’, ‘unique’, ‘authentic’, ‘inspirational’, ‘intuitive’ or ‘welcoming’ were also those that offered the best experience.
Other aspects that the Gensler Experience Index explored included the way that single-use spaces are becoming outdated, and how our spaces are changing with the added benefit of technology or the creation of “social space”. The Index offers a meaningful look into how a location’s design can engage people’s emotions, proving something that designers have always known – well designed spaces directly impact our quality of life.
Feature image: Hyundai Card Music Library – Seoul, Korea. Credit: Nacasa & Partners.