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« Tech Trends of 2016: One-Size-Doesn't-Fit-All | Main | Show Me the Meaning! Designing the Not-for-Profit Workplace. »

Tech Trends of 2016: Anticipation Makes an Impression

Image © Gensler

Editor’s note: this blog is part of a series on 2016 tech trends.

Recent psychological and behavioral studies have shown that the anticipation and memory of an experience are as important to one’s overall positive impression of the experience (if not more) than the actual moment of transaction or exchange. Designers, mostly working at the scale of user experience, are paying special attention to these before and after moments, carefully scripting an experience from beginning to end to tap into user feelings of suspense, temptation, adulation, surprise and catharsis.

As technology companies consider how best to attract top talent and retain employees, it’s becoming increasingly important to consider the way workplaces make employees feel. The user experience is scaling up—from the transaction-centric to something more space-centric. Designers are working with tech companies to create customized spaces that trigger feelings of anticipation from the moment an employee steps into the office until the end of the day, resulting in positive memories. As Pernilla Peterson points out in Happiness Lives in Anticipation, Recollection and Memories. How Do We Design For It?, feelings of anticipation captivate and incentivize potential employees, while happy memories inspire existing employees to return to work each day.

Workspaces are moving beyond fun amenities towards ‘memory-making’ experiences. As we move forward, the role of human psychology and behavior in the physical workspace will continue to grow. Image © Gensler

We are now in an era of experience—and impression is more important than ever. The tech workspace is moving beyond fun amenities towards providing “memory-making” experiences. Companies are looking to move away from a model in which fun amenities are proxies for the happy experiences that foster feelings of positivity. To respond to the growing expectation of work-life balance, they are examining the ways in which they can introduce elements that evoke the world outside of work—nature, leisure, self-betterment, family. According to Fast Company’s article, 6 Tips for Designing Happiness, while the fun and integrative models might keep you at work longer (and are still, well, fun), it’s the pursuit (and experience) of balance that ultimately contributes to a more productive, happy employee in the long-term.

As we move forward, the role of human psychology and behavior in the physical workspace will continue to grow—a value-add to the emotional trigger. Technology will be integrated into space to respond to individual needs in real time—think sentiment of color, stress level control, temperature, movement. Solutions to the impression of an experience may be heightened by more than spatial design itself. User experience really will be art and science.

Contributors: Corinda Wong, Megan McDonnell, Candice Martin

Brian is passionate about exploring the intersection of design, technology, and future ways of working. A Project Manager in Gensler’s San Francisco office, Brian teams with clients to conceptualize their projects and solve complex problems. Contact him at brian_stromquist@gensler.com.