Sengers and Blythe Readings

Sengers–“The Engineering of Experience”

I found the explanation of the transition of casual work/home balance to distinct work/home separation, in order to increase efficiency in that work, to be quite interesting, but I do have a hesitation: Although I agree partially that there is something lost by adopting “Taylorism” in its purest form, the author doesn’t really provide a sufficient argument as to why increasing efficiency in the workplace or at home with “fun” is inherently wrong.  The author claims that, “as a culture we need to consider systems that take a more integrative approach to experience,” but does not even try to prove why this assertion is true.  On one hand, I agree that it can be nice to be more relaxed about the boundaries of work/play, allowing for more neutral experiences, but on the other, I love the aspect of separation that allows me to clock out at the end of a work day and not have to be thinking about work when I am home with my family or hanging out with friends.  I love this quote: “Human behaviour is rich, complex, messy, and hard to organize into rules and formal models.”  But I think the author may be ignoring the fact that some people enjoy striving for efficiency and organizing their lives with “to-do lists” and “schedules.”


Blythe–“Making Sense of Experience”

I enjoyed reading this excerpt, but I will say it was a bit of an exhaustive “experience” (pun intended) navigating through the highly-specific philosophical or etymological discussion.  I think that I agree with most of what the author is asserting, but there was one thing that I was not to sure about.  Perhaps I misunderstood something, but it seems to be a contradiction when, at the beginning of the paper, it is suggested that “experience” should not be confused with subjective perceptions, but later, several examples of subjective aspects of experience are provided (The sensual thread, the emotional thread, making sense in experience, interpreting, etc.)  The author even states at one point, “People do not simply engage in experiences as ready-made, they actively construct them through a process of sense making.”  In other words, the experience is subjective to how people make sense of them.  Experience may contain other aspects that are objective, but it definitely contains lots of subjectivity.

Sidenote–I thought this quote was particularly interesting: “we cannot design an experience. But with a sensitive and skilled way of understanding our users, we can design for experience.”  This is probably a good observation to keep in mind while studying “User-Experience Design” as a class.

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