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Multi Sensory Design in Education

Marieke H. Sonneveld , Geke D.S. Ludden , Hendrik N.J. Schifferstein

Sensory impressions obtained through hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling all contribute to the way in which people experience their surrounding environment. However, in many designed products, not all sensory aspects contribute to the same, coherent product expression. To train our students in this multisensory design approach, we developed a course that aims to develop the students' awareness and sensitivity for the different sensory modalities and to develop their skills to design objects for which all senses contribute to the same expression. First of all, students gather sensory stimuli for four modalities (vision, touch, audition, and olfaction) that seem to fit best with the desired expression. This helps to develop ideas about the different ways in which an experience can manifest itself sensorially. Subsequently, the students design a product for a predetermined usage context, on the basis of a detailed scenario of the human- product interaction and by constructing exploratory, physical 'models' that stimulate multiple modalities.


Design for the senses, multisensory design, design for experience