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November 01, 2017

Experience IndexSM Proves Design is X Factor That Distinguishes Great Human Experiences

Survey of 4,000+ Quantifies Direct Impact of Design on Great Experiences Across Retail, Public Spaces and Workplaces.

NEW YORK, NY — Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm, today announced the results of its first-ever Gensler Experience IndexSM, validating that design has a quantifiable impact on experience. The research identifies the key drivers of a great experience and provides a holistic framework for understanding experience across retail, public spaces, and workplaces.

This first-of-its-kind research combines the known drivers of creating a human experience — product, brand and service quality, with design factors — something that has not been factored into the formula to-date. The results demonstrate that design is the key differentiating factor between a good experience and a great one, something designers have always believed to be true but now have hard data to support.

“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. “We are seeing an exponential increase in people’s expectations of place making and space. Our clients are looking to create human experiences that help them stand out to customers, visitors and employees. We’re now able to prove that design is the X factor that takes a good experience and makes it great.”

Businesses that don’t invest in design are overlooking an opportunity to improve sales, build consumer loyalty and engage employees. Beyond creating visual appeal, investing in powerful design can grow retail’s bottom line, and, from a workplace perspective, research data proves that design impacts an employee’s experience, which drives recruiting, retention and engagement. Great design creates great places that engage people’s emotions and keep them coming back.

The Experience Framework

According to the Gensler Experience Index, a person’s experience in a space is driven by their purpose or intention in visiting that space. Those intentions are represented in the Experience Framework by five modes:

  • Task mode — seeking to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • Social mode — intending to interact with others.
  • Discovery mode — open to exploration.
  • Entertainment mode — seeking diversion.
  • Aspiration mode — seeking personal growth or to be connected to a higher purpose

In addition to understanding intention, the expectations a user brings to an experience and quality of interactions, combined with the qualities of space, together inform how it will be perceived.

Additional findings include:

  • The quality of experiences at the “best-designed” spaces were rated nearly twice as high as those at the “worst-designed” spaces.
  • Places designed to accommodate multiple activities — from working to socializing to exercising and everything in between — are far more likely to result in great experiences.
  • More than half of consumers go to retail stores for reasons other than shopping, and 3 out of 4 who visit retail stores without the intent to buy wind up making a purchase.
  • People are 10 times more likely to share their in-store experiences on social media if those stores have unique design features. For workplaces, they’re six times more likely, and for public places, three times more likely.

The Gensler Experience Index is the result of a rigorous multi-year, mixed-methods research investigation that combined qualitative, ethnographic research — 30 two-hour interviews with people in five markets across the U.S. to gather insights about experience — with quantitative research that included a nationwide, panel-based survey of 4,000+ respondents.

For more on Gensler Experience IndexSM, please visit www.gensler.com/experience

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