Since I wrote this, I found out that Human Experience Design is actually a thing. UX for VR that is. When I wrote this I was thinking about something deeper than VR.

(Originally Published on Medium Nov 18, 2020)

In 2007–08 Romania, my home country, joined the European Union. Europe opened the borders for us, Romanians. At the time I was in Bucharest. For me, this political move was great news. I could now go and study anywhere in the E.U. without the need of a visa. Long story short, I left Romania and went to study Digital Media & Fine Arts at Canterbury Christ Church University in UK.

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

After one year in Canterbury, I was ambitious enough and I moved to London where all the hype was when it comes to all things digital. I gave up on the Fine Arts part of my BA(Joint Honours) and went full time with Digital Media Arts at London South Bank University.

Here, at LSBU, I first learned about UXD User Experience Design, although they didn’t quite called it that back then (aprox. 2009). I was learning how to tell stories using digital tools. Working a lot in Flash and ActionScript 3.0 I created Digital Universes for others to surf using a computer.

I dearly remember my projects. One project was about an Unexplained Digital World were bizare things happened when the user interacted with graphical elements on the screen, clicking or hovering whatever was being presented to them the user could navigate through an un-Explained Cosmos.

Another project was for the Disrupted Narratives class. It was about telling a story, but not in a classic way, beginning to end, chapter 1,2,3. More like 3,1,2 or 2,3,1.

With the help of a friend, George, using Action Script 3.0 and Flash I created an interactive graphical User Interface; I had 50 .mp3 files with chapters from “The Alchemist” story by Paulo Coelho. With the User Interface I created one could listen and watch the story in 2500 different sequences of the chapters. Every time the user clicked Grandpa H (above) one of the .mp3 files was being played randomly. A disrupted narrative.

This kind of projects got me excited about technology and the Digital Realm. Another idea was to create a classical art exhibition with a twist. The plan was to exhibit sensations/experiences. Sensory Experiences.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, later on, 2012–13 back in Romania, I learned and joined a group about Labirint Theatre, or Sensorial Theatre/Sensorial Poetry.

What is Sensorial/Labirinth Theatre?

It is something very different from a classical theatre play. In Labirint Theatre each member of the audience, that is only one member(at a time) of “the audience” goes from “actor” to “actor”(actually called a Facilitator/Constructor/Designer) and experiences the “play”, the story, the labirint in a unique and different way.

Wait, isn’t that the way a “User” experiences our work as designers when using an app on the web?

“Theatre is the art of looking at ourselves and is also the art of ‘what if’.
What if when we look deeply we can’t find a self?
The question then arises, who is looking?”


If you want to learn more about this kind of theatre I suggest you research about Iwan Brioc and Augusto Boal.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Well, just in case you don’t, I’ll write it here, black on white, or white on black, depends on who is browsing this story.

We, as Designers don’t create User Experience Design, but Human Experience Design. Because, t̶h̶e̶y, we, are not “Users”, we are Humans.

All jokes aside, this is a serious problem we must face. A documentary I recently watched on this topic and I recommend it, is The Social Dillema. You can find it on Netflix.

“There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’:
Illegal drugs and software.”

Edward Tufte

With one foot in the Digital World, VR, AR, and other emerging technology we should deeply think about the experiences we create and what drives us to create them.

I will write more on this topic in the future.

Live long and prosper!

Featured Image Credits:
Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

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