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Editor’s Letter

Putting a value on experience design

New research from Gensler has examined the impact of design on the quality of experiences. The new Gensler Experience Index examined people’s intentions in using space, as well as their expectations, interactions and the quality of the space


Attributing values to buildings is a fairly straightforward process when it comes to well-established sectors such as office and residential, where the building type has become a commodity. However, leisure buildings don’t follow the same rules, and valuing them is far more complicated because of what goes on inside them: how do you value an experience?

This issue we look at work done by Gensler, who set out to tackle this question by doing research to find evidence of the importance and design in creating experiences (see page 110).

The practice has created the Gensler Experience Index, a matrix which describes best practice in experience design.

Gensler carried out a multi-year, mixed-methods investigation that combined qualitative and ethnographic research – such as 30 two-hour interviews with people in five markets across the US – with quantitative research, including a nationwide, panel-based survey of over 4,000 respondents.

Gensler’s Tom Lindblom told CLAD, “Previous studies have evaluated human experience and its impact on business, but this is the first time design has been measured.

“We already knew the importance of product, brand, and service quality in creating a great experience. However, no single piece of research to date has combined the known drivers of creating a human experience with design factors.

“We’re now able to prove that design is the X factor that takes a good experience and makes it great.”

Gensler found that the quality of experiences at the ‘best-designed’ spaces was rated nearly twice as highly as those at the ‘worst-designed’ spaces, with places which are considered ‘beautiful, unique, authentic, inspirational, intuitive, and welcoming’ offering the best overall experience.

Among many findings, the research found people value places they can go to spend high-quality, ‘unstructured time’, such as public spaces which offer the chance for “reflection, inspiration, and unplugging, as well as fun and socialising.”

Gensler said: “Our findings suggest every space should be designed as a social space. The data showed that places designed to support community, connection and belonging offer better experiences and that people actively seek out places to connect.”

company profile
Company profile: Blu Spas, Inc.
Since the 1998 launch of spa & wellness design and planning company Blu Spas, Cary Collier, Doug Chambers and their international team have provided solutions for a wide variety of projects, including hotels, resorts, clubs, mixed-use and residential properties. 
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