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Industrial Design

I say “Dome of Awesome” and you say…

April 11, 2018

When I’ve said “dome of awesome” to people, they generally respond with something like, “What is it? I want it. I want to be in the dome of awesome!”

In fact, I mentioned this concept to a client the other day; that we need to expand their dome of awesome and he seemed pretty excited about the idea. It’s a sticky concept, and it can elevate your next ideation session.

What exactly is this dome of awesome? It’s that place where your expectations have been met (nay, exceeded!) and you are having a great experience throughout. It’s a dome because it is a contained “thing” or experience.

I’ve been thinking a lot more about experiences, total experiences, experiences from an individual’s point of view, and not from a product-centric point of view. Yes, the central product use experience must be great, but so does what comes before and after it. Thinking about the whole experience allows us to expand the dome. There is incredible opportunity in those spaces often left unexplored and ignored … a whole lot of awesome to be created and enjoyed. In product development, we tend focus on ‘designing to delight’ only when the user is at that magical moment in time when they are actually using our product.

Setting your dome's dimensions

Why do people shy away from the dome and dome expansion? Chances are, they are measuring the wrong things, but most likely they are operating with an unclear definition of what problem should be solved.

I believe there’s way to measure how far you can and should extend beyond that central focus. It involves a metric– distance, believe it or not – and it starts with a question that can reframe your experience map:

“How far do we need to extend our dome of awesome? How far can we?”

Are you going to have every part of the product experience under the dome, or not? What parts of that experience will you try to bring under the dome over an extended time? How will you strengthen that dome (it’s fragile!) when a competitor tries to shoot holes in it?

I’ll give you an example: a gas grill. The dream of mouth-watering grilled meats and vegetables and entertaining happy guests is what gets customers enticed to buy again and again. But that dream – the central focus of the product experience- is surrounded by unattractive realities: cleaning, storing, fueling…none of them are within the grilling dome of awesome.

Yes, the central product use experience must be great, but so does what comes before and after it.

Let’s talk about how we can help move your business forward.

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