What does your context smell like? Taste like? Enrich your ways of describing your design space.
Why use Six Senses
- Six Senses is a way to unpack an idea or solution space by paying attention to non-dominant ways of perceiving the world.
- Six Senses reconciles traditional and non-traditional ways to think about a topic. It can help you create a powerful metaphor for your user, your problem, your space, or your context that goes beyond the obvious.
- By providing six prompts, Six Senses helps you separate out your sensory experiences, enriching your arsenal of descriptive language. If you’ve been using the same words over and over in your process, Six Senses can give you an infusion of new vocabulary.
- Six Senses helps you generate both literal and abstract descriptions. We all know what a baby looks like – but what does a baby TASTE like? We know what a kitchen smells like and tastes like, but what does it FEEL like?
How to use Six Senses
- Six Senses is an idea generation technique. It belongs in the “flare” mode of the “focus and flare” model. Rather than narrowing down to a single solution, you’re coming up with as many divergent ideas as possible. So do this exercise fast, and don’t worry about whether you’re doing it right.
- Start by generating words to ideate around. Anything goes here. You might use activities (shopping, fishing, exercising), user groups (toddlers, geeks), or environments (the beach, high school, a law firm, McDonalds).
- For each word, divide a whiteboard or piece of paper into six segments: Looks Like, Feels Like, Tastes Like, Sounds Like, Smells Like, and Makes Me Feel Like.
- As fast as you can, surface your associations with your starting word, using the six boxes as guides.
- Even though Six Senses belongs in the “flare” mode, it can help you get perspective and get out of a rut when you’re trying to focus.