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Experience Attributes define

Generate descriptive words to inform the mood boards and visual direction of the project.


  • BoardThing
  • Google, or image search engine
  • Video conferencing app
  • Screensharing app

Why do it:

Prior to working on the visual design for a product, project or website, you often need the entire product team and stakeholders to agree upon a common terminology for the look and feel of things. This exercise provides a space for everyone to explore what a successful and effective design might be. This is also a great opportunity to decide what just feels right for this specific design opportunity.

When to use it:

This method can be done as part of the Visual Design Workshop. The workshop is most effective when done as a kickoff to the visual design phase(s) of a project. This can happen well before the ux direction of the project is defined and/or the design of wireframes is finalized. Because remote or not co-located meetings can be extremely draining, consider breaking this workshop into a few sessions - with each session no longer than 90 minutes. The actual scheduling will depend on the client, the availability, the timeline, etc.

Who’s involved:

Designers and stakeholders. These should be done collaboratively. The bonus of collaborating and working openly is that there is a shared understanding and valuable conversations that arrive through the process.

Time estimate:

Medium (3 - 6 hours)

One way to do it:

  1. Place tons of different images on a board in a matrix. To do this remotely, use a tool such as BoardThing.

    identify experience attributes with an image matrix on BoardThing

  2. Explain to participants that they are able to vote on 10 images: 5 that feel right and 5 that don’t feel right.

  3. As a group, review the project brief and personas (if there are any). Think about the users of the product or project. What do they like? What appeals to them? One way to do the activity is to assign participants to play the role of one of the personas. They must answer questions posed to the group from the personas viewpoint.

  4. Give participants 20 minutes to study the pictures, and vote (if you are using BoardThing it’s called voting). Break the vote into two 10 minute sessions - vote once for images that feel wrong and another time for those that feel right. (Remind participants that there’s no right answer here. It’s the conversation that arises that’s important).

    digital dot voting with experience attributes on Board Thing

  5. When all of the dots have been added, facilitate a conversation amongst the group about why they voted the way they did. Start with the ones that had a lot of reds, since people often find it very easy to talk about what’s undesirable. Move to the ones that had a lot of greens to solicit positive attributes.

    plot experience attributes

  6. While participants talk about why they chose the images, try to spend time on images that evoke differing opinions - this will help to develop a certain nuanced vocabulary.

  7. Capture the adjectives that they are using during this conversation on a spectrum using sticky notes or digital stickies. These adjectives are your experience attributes. If you have more than 3 - 5 words, you can do a vote to slim the list down.

    describe experience attributes

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