Experience Aesthetics —

Evaluated the effectiveness and value of the Experience Aesthetics framework with a focus on developing projects based on human values

Experience Aesthetics is a framework developed to create a taxonomy of everyday aesthetic experiences. It is used to form a foundation for delving into human experiences that are intertwined with design matters.

This framework serves to broaden and deepen design questions by prioritizing aesthetic encounters within the design process, aiming to enrich lives and augment the value of design endeavors.




Auldyn Matthews-McGee (Professor)


2 months work in progress


Experience Aesthetics framework, Figma

experience aesthetics overview

Experience Aesthetic is a physical, card-based framework developed by Auldyn Matthews-McGee that delves deeper into human values.

Inspired by philosopher Yuriko Saito's book, The Aesthetics of the Familiar, this framework intends to create a mental field of familiar experiences that evokes emotion and feelings. How we perceive, process, and structure sensory information in a qualitative way is at the core of this thinking. The goal is to build an experience map from your story to create a structure of feelings and emotions related to your narrative.

my role

I was responsible for researching and testing the impact of the framework to evaluate how it can better serve the design community.

the challenge and considerations

How might we evaluate the value and effectiveness of the Experience Aesthetics framework?

One consideration to take into account would be the amount of cards. Currently there are 27 core values and over 200+ subvalues. This lengthy process could potentially deter the proper usage of the framework.

Test Evaluation

Testing the validity of the Experience Aesthetic framework

With this timeline, I interviewed 10 people from different backgrounds who all had experience with the design process, and hosted 2 workshops with 30+ students.

Major findings

While the overall framework helps them develop a final goal of what they want their project/product to be, many struggle with the size of the deck. However, they also understand the trade-off of categorizing values would limit their experience when ideating.

Some potential benefits would be the inclusion of visuals and removing text as the amount of scannable information is lacking.

next steps

I'll be hosting a workshop with students at Carnegie Mellon University to gather more insights, especially how this framework would act in a rapid iteration environment.

As this is an ongoing project, some next steps include workshopping and more interviews to discover patterns and insights. I'll also be conducting more research such as mapping core values to Max-Neef's matrix of needs and satisfiers to ground the validity.

Another pattern that I've discovered was how people used the card and what information leads them to their decision. With this in mind, I'll be iterating on the design of the card to better suit its purpose.

reflection so far

Looking forward to the final results!

I'm very thankful for Auldyn as my advisor for this project as she has helped me immensely from understanding the framework to supporting my ideas when it comes to testing and insights. I'm looking forward to the outcome in hopes that these physical cards will be used in academia and/or industry in the future!