16 February 2006

The penumbra effect: designing the bird-flu crisis experience

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Bob Jacobson just published a thoughtful reflection in his Total Experience blog on how experience design can help us becoming better prepared in dealing with a bird flu pandemic.

“How we experience a potential crisis, a condition that by definition we haven’t experienced before (any of us, experts or laypersons), determines how we respond. This experience is designed through the cumulative interactions of speakers, writers, media professionals, politicians, health professionals, corporations, governments, NGOs, and the public. But no one is designing the interactions to produce positive, proactive results.”

“Our experience of the bird flu crisis is the ultimate in poorly designed experiences.”

“We’re in an informational limbo: we know just enough to appreciate the collective dimension of our dilemma. But we’re constrained from collectively preparing for the worst, because we’re unable to pool our responses except through distilled channels like the news. Experience designers who are busy building better websites and shopping-mall exhibitions might consider how well received their work will be after pandemic sweeps across an unprepared world.”

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