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An exploration of priming effect to improve audience / user experience in narrative environment

An exploration of priming effect to improve  audience / user experience in narrative environment

Design thinking is a strategy and approach to the creative problem-solving process. I start to consider it as a human-centered method for innovation to be part of the designer’s tool. And it integrates people’s needs, the feasibility of the technology, and the viability of business opportunities (Brown,2008). This paper is to explore the possibility of priming effect and relationship through audience/ users with a holistic journey in a narrative environment. It presented priming influence in different ways, such as audience/ experiencer needs, fictional setting with multi-sensory experience through design thinking method. Broadly, priming relates to the occasional impact of environmental context on cognition and behavior(Logan,1980). Regularly, priming influences from the activation of mental interpretations that facilitate related subsequent reactions (Molden, 2014). The implication of the priming effect with human centre design, narrative weight, and multiple senes are discussed in detail. Besides, there are some references and expanse effects overtime. In sum, the notion of priming design is to understand better the effects, which would benefit for human reaction through the different environments, devices, and platforms. And these explorations and findings are described to enhance the situation of priming impact through human-centered design to rethink the way of ‘design thinking’ and to better improve the audience/user experience.


“Designers don’t try to search for a solution until they have determined the real problem, and even then, instead of solving that problem, they stop to consider a wide range of potential solutions. Only then will they finally converge upon their proposal. This process is called design thinking.”


Don Norman, author, The Design of Everyday Things



Priming influence | Narrative environment | Human- centred design | Multi-sensory experience




“Architectural design is basically user experience design on a physical and spatial level, where space is just another medium and buildings and structures are the interfaces and frameworks that users can interact with.

A building then is a tangible version of a mobile app.”

– David Lau


In terms of the observation and working experience from the multidisciplinary design industry, architects, experiential designers, service designers, artists are gathering to create an immersive environment. Indeed, as the gap of understanding, they usually miss the part of the research and knowledge from the user. This two framework above is absolutely crossover between two design industry that I realised can be developed and combined. It shows the design framework is not only affected by the users’ current needs, desires but also consider future changes. And it should be effected through the criterion and solution that we need today in the architecture, multidisciplinary industry (Lau, 2019). However, it can be noticed to rethink the relationship regard with the experience design’s definition and position, and also the possibility of using the priming effect to improve the experience between audience/ users, context, and site. Such as how people perceived the environment better in the overall experience, and how powerful of priming effect can be the part of the design to influence the experience in a narrative environment?

Generally, user-centered design as a method is applied to be part of design thinking processes (Stefano Marzano, 2003). User experience design is a broad field to draw multidisciplinary channels plan primarily.  It is not only including interaction design, information architecture, and visual design, but also spatial experience design (Knight, 2011). Selective attention relies on expecting to fulfill needs and joyful proof based on priming effect (Rooks & Willson, 2000; Devito, 2009). Understanding users/audiences with their anticipation, the desired action appropriately to well define priming techniques.

Moreover, to identify the content, culture, different user scenario by using the narrative approach to influence your behavior in subtle ways with varying views of the site. Meanwhile, to affect how user/ audience perceive the environment, the context through various touchpoint would also be other points of view to be analysed. To extend how multi-sensory priming with cross-modal processing related through omnichannel and holistic user/ audience journey. First, start from the audience/ experiencers to understand people’s needs, expectations by using the right priming technique. In terms of the context variation, through priming design to influence how people perceive the environment descriptively, to understand the circumstance based on the context. Lastly, using appropriate cues via expected experience with surrounding environment as the intermediate, which is to affect people’s behavior with the priming technique. Across these experiential situations, this paper is reaching on arguing, rethinking the way of ‘ design thinking’ from the designer’s point of view through human-centered design approach in narrative environment.



Chapter 1

Priming definition for the new age

1. Priming definition for the new age

Fig. 3, Weichen Tang. 0109,2019,  Relationship of Priming influence between Audience / users in narrative environment


‘Priming’ refers to the passive, subtle and unobtrusive activation of relevant mental representations by external, environmental stimuli, such that people are not and do not become aware of the influence exerted by those stimuli.” Miller mentioned (2018) Priming is an unconscious form dealing with human memory, which seems to be based on the operations of semantics memory, which means it concerned with the perception of identification of language, objects, environment (Tulving and Schacter, 1990). And also as a technique of behavior physiology to guide people in the right way by providing them little cues that they could get it subtly with different types. Priming is used to make the user experience presentative instruction is subconsciously appeared, which leads people to engage the experience on your platform (Miller, 2018). It is the way of helping people to make the right decision without instruction. For example, where some participants were primed with a quickly flashing word(“pine”) where he did not prime the others. Afterward, those primed participants were answered faster when they saw ‘a plant’ in the image  asked (Bargh, Chen, and Burrows, 1996), your previous ideas about the construct of a camel (4) allow you to finish this sketch before it’s actually finished. The power of priming takes place in subconscious awareness, and it could be the critical aspect of behavior psychological in daily life (Elgendi et al., 2018). It could be the part of huaman’s sensation, emotion, movement to influence both interpretation and reaction to affect human behavior. For instance, the mighty mouse 2 is the new wireless version of Apple mouse.The mouse is purposely designed this way to prevent user from leaving it while it is charging. It seems needlessly left when people are dissatisfied of the eagerly waiting time, whereas it just attached the charging cable and leave it on charge for 2 minutes would give people 9hours energy. And even it can raise up to a whole mouth without power charging. Apparently, there is no need to warning people to not use it while is being charged. In terms of this design, people only remember the wireless experience instead. And that is the aim of priming ultimately since user isn’t being manipulated or defrauded with this kind of perfect user experience.



Chapter 2

How priming can improve audience/user experience in the narrative environment?


2.1 Research and audience understanding to avoid negative effect unexpectedly

2.1.1 Rethinking of the human centred approach in user experience design

Human/ user- centred design (UCD) is a user research method, as the practice from design, design process, services, events, different touch points with user journeys, and environments with a focus pressed on the user experience quality and culturally relevant solutions (Stefano Marzano, 2003). It enhances user satisfaction with a clear and precise direction on the “user” (no matter a person or a group of people who deals with an object, a website, an application or service) and their expectations, challenges, and needs. With these situations by improving the accessibility, viability, feasibility, is to be delighted to provide the engagement together.

Priming patterns are distributed anywhere, the way you respond is by using competitor’s analysis and data analysation is one of the best ways to identify previous stimuli, and transfer the analysation to a task flow or an experience journey (Bower, 2012). The purpose is trying to understand the holistic design experience.

Starting from using empathy as the approach with the user, designers can provide a solution that meets those needs more successfully(Knight, 2011). This approach, known as “design thinking,” encouraging designers and others to reach a variety of complex business problems and social issues. On the other hand, it is not only addressed via an individual design discipline. It demands a multidisciplinary methodology that considers a range of aspects of the business, intermediate, space, experience from the product, commercial, environment. That is to develop the expertise of a product, service, spatial event or all of the coming dimensions (Steve Diller; 2005). Since experience design focuses on “moments of engagement, or touchpoints, between people and brands, and ideas, emotions, and memories that these moments create.” (Seward and Seward, 2019). 

Designers should have a holistic problem-solving point of view. They need to look at the overall brand, design ecosystem, although I would argue that they didn’t know how to employ priming well. And priming can be a way of helping users/ audiences choose the better option and speed up the time of their decision making.

The solution to the problem, event, or space experience often involves designing an event, but it’s really about creating a more comprehensive approach. It’s about asking, “How can I design experience in a way that delivers results across all channels and touchpoints with different types of the target audience ?” Therefore, priming is the most crucial key for user experience (Birkett, 2019). The purpose of experience and enhancement, perceptual priming, and conceptional priming may be repetitive priming (Agenda)would be in the long form of types through UCD thinking (Elgendi et al., 2018). Therefore, a specific target audience group should be clarified before defining priming design.

Fig. 5, Tim Brown. 2007,  Adapted from “Change by design”



2.1.2 Understanding types of audience / users/ experiencers

Generally, the primary core integration of the priming could use a funnel format as the approach, where primes will be applied on each step from the journey until the holistic user/ audience gets to the specific entry points including the desired response (Teodorescu, 2019). It is the process in which designers only start to visualize the space and the circumstances in which the designer can integrate priming effects. As it is still at the beginning stage of the process associated with other essential requirements, A completed priming mechanism would not be required, but still available to consider the aspect for later integration.

User Research Methods is the process of understanding the impact of design on an audience (Kuniavsky, 2003). To think from audience/ user experiencers through behaviour psychology to well understand people’s needs. Here are the five broad dimensions (the ‘Big Five’) that are commonly used in the research and study of personality(Haslam, 2008). Since the 20th Century lately, these factors have been used to measure, and develop a better understanding of individual differences in personality

they measure and predict behavior along five pillars, which they call the “OCEAN” model (Rothmann S, Coetzer EP, 2003)

Regularly, the five personality traits affect how people behave in different circumstances that they realised themselves as sometimes they are responsible for their reaction to a specific situation. And also, observing their natural environment, designing for expectation and desired action. In the context of user-centered design, priming means developing a platform that leads users ( target audience ) subconsciously for a particular action (Birkett, 2019). That is to say, without argument, priming could be possible to help users choose the better option to increase the speed of making the decision. These techniques are based on scientific findings of trailblazing scientists trying to get a better picture of how the mind works. The famous psychologist, David Buss, is also recommended that these traits initiated from some of the most crucial features of any given social culture.  Although each priming technique has been tested and proven multiple times, not many research considered the combination of understanding target audiences, users, experiencers as a priority.



2.2   Defining the priming pattern through narrative environment for the desired action


Fig. 6, Weichen Tang. 0109,2019,  Defining the priming pattern through each touchpoint for desired action


2.2.1 Priming pattern with omnichannel Journey

Priming design through user journey or user flows is to understand user needs, expectations, and audience perspectives as a series of cues (Bower, 2012). Which means defining priming pattern is very essential to be considered. What makes the experience part of a service or performance somewhat hard to work with is that experiences and journeys are personal and emotional (Pullman and Gross, 2004). They include factors that are beyond the management manipulation — individual interpretation based on cultural, experience journey, emotion, etc through different circumstances. The design of experience-centric services involves organizing the “cue” that is vented by the environments, product, or service (Carbon and Haekel,1994). IDEO, the head of service Design company, mentioned the user/custom journey as one of the processes, which is used to understand how participants behave across the holistic journey.  For clarifying priming patterns, techniques, human’s expectation and desired action, using those common questions, such as who they are, where they are, what, when are they going to do, how do they feel and think. These questions could be the way of understanding how specific our audience/ users the way they work and also of the process of defining priming patterns and techniques.


Fig. 7, NNGROUP. 0511,2019, Experience journey maps produce the concept of audience/user journey via user types, products, and service.

Gathering requirements from stakeholders, understand the context and situation, going through each section and categories from card sorting exercise with real participants. Afterward, trying to think about in which way designer can connect any elements or specific primings for audience/participants who are more likely to move forward where you would like to navigate them intentionally, but unwittingly. Defining the priming patterns while engaging with users/ audience is a great beginning point in understanding the mental conventions people make through the context with any elements. An experience map is a visualized tool for an entire end-to-end experience that a target audience/user takes part in to achieve a goal (Brown, 2016). It’s used to create criteria for understanding how a general human behavior is more specific and concentrated on related to particular situations (Nielsen Norman Group, 2019). For example, Walt Disney Company uses the customer journey concept for improving their customer service for Disneyland. The company starts to design a holistic guest experience cycle that drives audiences from expectations and arrival to experience, departure. And also considering a customer experience cycle that runs from anticipation and arrival to experience and departure. This cycle of the ecosystem provides a theme park trip as a sensory and physical space journey. Six design and consulting firms used this tool and method to analyze the current experience journey to give an iterated version. Hence, priming as the support approach could be a type of cue modality to be considered to accomplish the goal.


Fig. 8,The above picture is the Disney experience map strategy from 1957.


Another report from Nike marketing research in 2016, a normal customer experience journey persona model mentioned “Before I want to buy a running trainer, I first consult from social media platform after which I search thrust hashtag #newtrainers ,#runningshoes #NikeAirMax270 #nike through Instagram, Facebook. After react, I would do a price comparison through Amazon, JD, and deduce that Nike’s official website is actually the best option to order the product.” That means a customer would be given inspiration and primed through all different channels with a tremendous range of visual and auditory cues from digital media to the physical retail stores.

The aspect of good experience journey design uses all physical elements to advocate the fundamental sight, metaphor or theme of the organization (Berry et al, 2002, Pine & Gilmore 1998). Which means that more and more experience design put a narrative, storytelling to accomplish the holistic touchpoints, meanwhile all of the priming patterns can be well defined in order to be more user/ audience friendly when those experience journey has been defined.


Fig. 9,10, Frank Van De Ven, 2008,2019,  Overall purchasing journey through online to offline touch points, Transactional Vs Experiential journeys: understanding and designing for both


2.2.2 Narrative approach (definition) through the holistic environments

Museums are moving away from authoritative narratives to imaginative methods, says Metaphor director for content and learning, Rachel Morris. Metaphor initially laid the content on the floor as a storyboard, which is designing the British Museum’s 2007 exhibition ‘The First Emperor’ (Reedsy, 2019). An imaginative response to the material was then developed by transforming the museum’s dome into a tomb ceiling, controlling lighting and highlighting. That is the power of narrative, and it could be found in different cultures and as a crucial psychological tool for organizing and comprehending behavior and experience (Bruner, 1986; Herman, 2003; Kashima, Peters, & Whelan, 2008).


Fig. 11, Chu, J. and Mazalek, A. 2019, Three spectra comprising the Tangible and Embodied Narrative Framework (TENF).

A narrative environment is a story unfolded in space, it both contains physical or virtual space (Bättig-Frey, Jäger, and Treichler Bratschi, 2018). It emphasises the evocative of the environment with storytelling through the immersive experience. Kashima and his colleagues (Kashima et al., 2008; Kashima, Gurumurthy, Ouschan, Chong, & Mattingley, 2007) have suggested that not only do readers/audience of a narrative process main characters ‘ goals for understanding the story, but they may also do those objective as their own appropriately. That is to say, a narrative may non-consciously activate the leading character’s goal, and this primed goal may impact users/ audience behavior. To explore the role of the narrative context in goal priming, considered whether a fictional concept increases the likelihood of goal activation by using a fictional framework (rather than semantic structure).

A narrative sensory experience of rain, using ‘translator’ (exquisite machine) as the medium to transform the sound of the rain from Bangkok to London. Instead of reproducing the rain sound, this project focused on representing an author’s sound perception of the rain in her homeland by using materials as alphabets to compose different layers of rain. But just like any other narratives, every interpretation is unique, and the downpour is within the environment. After all, everyone has a different soundscape journey, and people have their ways of decoding stories. Then, We hold an interview to understand how the audience describes the sound of the rain. For instance, one of them mentioned about they are experiencing a typical side in Southeast Asia, others said about the sound of the rain seems like in the courtyard in their home town. Even one person mentioned the rain comings from the forest like a downpour.


Fig. 12 Weichen Tang, 0228, 2019, Narrative journey process with priming setting, design portfolio

Fig.13, Credits, Kornbongkoch Harnpinijsak, 2805,2019,  sound of the rain script from‘Translator’ exquisite instrument project

The audience journey starts from making an appointment of filling the time slot before experience the performance, which means we do one/ two-person per time. The guider will give them a quick induction in order to keep silence, and provide the raincoat with blindfold glasses before they come into the dark space afterwords, and lead participants to walk to the right space later, after listening to the sound of the rain from Bangkok, audience will be asked to take off glasses, being invited to approach the instrument, real the rain machine ‘rain translator’. Before they leave, they are allowed to draw and sketch on the white cardboard. Narrative through the whole experience, the audience was expecting rain, and the sound of the rain already triggered their memory by the fictional sound script. As same as the latest project, ‘Sounds, and sweet airs’, we created a synthetic world with a tremendous range of acoustic cues of natural soundscape and its inhabitants. Humans, inhabitants coexist to live in the sharable space through multi-channel communication to synchronise the ecological environment. In order to rethink the relationship between humans and the environment, the natural sound ecology as the reflection to remind people of the surrounding. Both virtual and physical sound is created by different types of creatures. The overall soundscape is also narrative which relies on participant’s own explanation. We designed three species and defined four types of creatures. Mainly sensitive to human, temperature and humidity, creatures movement and complex environment. Background d sound of the creatures(Little chirper) are sensitive to temperature and humidity, Rustler is the one who will be attracted by audience movement when things are move and it will move after they left.

There are three narrative layers of the combination, one is the scene of nature from the audience mind, second is the physical space with the sound of the synthetic creatures, and the third is the interactive virtual soundscapes. Particularly, each part of the virtual invisible creature’s sound is triggered by the participant’s movement, it starts at the beginning when people putting on the headphone. At that moment sound is quite subtle,  and it is getting richer and richer, Simultaneously, due to the interaction between people and physical synthetic creatures, physical and virtual sound is overwhelmed round the audience. Basically, hooting, rustling and constant chirping(normal and buzz like) are at the tone area, while dynamic chirping and hooting’s sound raise up. When they walk through the path until the end, it seems that those invisible creatures are humming slightly to say goodbye to participants. During the interviewing section in the ARS festival, we questioned hundreds of participants in five days exhibition. And some of the audiences mentioned the boundary line which is so powerful after they walked through space at the end of the corridor, those sounds and creatures just suddenly disappeared and they felt sad. Some of the other people mentioned that he felt like a fall in the synthetic creatures world.

Fig.14, Weichen Tang 0509,2019,  S&SA in ARS Electronica festival exhibition


Fig.16  Credits, Nong Hua Lim, S& SA project soundscape definition 0509,2019,  soundscape area for 3 species and 4 types of creatures


Narratives take on an influential role in creating the perceptual environment, to engage with people surrounding various stakeholders, including clients, users, designers. Understanding narratives as a critical tool to re-think, transform, animate, and shape public space (Chu and Mazalek, 2019). Such as cross-innovation, scenario design, user research, expert interview, workshops, is to gain an intricate understanding of the given task. According to the narrative design elements from the literature on interactive narratives with the aforementioned examples: (1) physical engagement, (2) narrative role,and (3) narrative consequence. GradesFixer (2018) mentioned these elements could help engage interaction with narrative perspectives to interpret a story after the personal narrative experience in Disneyland. So that, from my point of view, in terms of serve a narrative engagement experience, following the narrative flow might be a way of finding the priming pattern definition in each stage, and also for providing a user-friendly experience through the complex environment.

Fig. 17, Weichen Tang, Disney theme park, Hongkong 0105,2018.


2.3  Using proper priming cues through expected experience with surrounding environment


“Thinking needs time, feeling doesn’t need time”

— Naoto Fukasawa.



Fig. 18, Weichen Tang. 0109,2019, Using proper priming cues through expected experience with the surrounding environment


2.3.1 Multi-sensory priming integration to accelerate overall experience

Generally, people will lose the connection of creating the whole experience, Professor Charles Spence believes that our sensory influence to experience can accelerate human experience as an integration. By matching the associated ‘sound, smell, and touch’ of a taste, we perceive and rate the feeling to be far better than we might rate it with no other sensory effect. For example, there was a whiskey-tasting campaign London, Professor Spence design three’ tasting rooms’ with his colleagues. And the result showed how people perceived the whiskey flavor in different interpretation based on each of the tasting room they experienced. The whiskey was interpreted expressively grassier in the full of ‘grassy’ room. Audiences’ perception of smell and flavor influenced by approximately  10% to 20% since different ruction room. Thereafter, the participants were more preferred the whiskey when they tried in the ‘woody’ room. The finding is that consumer perception of the commercial experience affected by each sensory element. And also present an opportunity to emphasise peoples’ experience of tasting priming design, which as a congruent multi-sensory environment.

Fig. 19, BritVisual design cues in three rooms. These rooms were designed to emphasise specific attributes of the whiskey: (A) grassy, (B) sweet, and (C) woody attributes of the whiskey. Images are courtesy of the British Broadcasting Corporation on March 26, 2013


‘Sounds, and sweet airs’ is a sensory experience as well. This sensory design project reflects on natural sound ecologies to create a synthetic environment around human-technology interaction. Before the audience walking through the overall experience, the familiar sound and ‘sweet airs’ will be delivered before seeing. In terms of visual and auditory cues, the audience will be attracted by the composition of a virtual and physical soundscape, such as the shape of the headphone as one of the visual cue, sounds from synthetic creatures when audience passes by.  When walking through the place, audience will be primed by the visual (headphone) with dim lights and darks space, wearing headphones is to prime people to walk slow down and emphasis the curiosity. For example, most of the participants mentioned the sound which they heard make them feel relaxing in the nature, and feeling positive overall, like the sense of sound localization without seeing the sound source, and they can not tell whether is it a virtual or physical sound source as an instrumental ensemble.

Therefore, the significant influence for various environments beyond the restaurant and coffee bar, such as in the exhibition, festivals, concerts, and many different touchpoints. As well as the “Rain translator’ project, we blindfold audience eyes, shutdown their visual sense to prime them to emphasize of how they would concentrate on listening to the sound of the rain, the purpose is aimed to accelerate acoustic sensation during the sound performance stage, in order to exaggerate contrast by revealing all sounds are generated by exquisite instruments afterward.

We should be aware of thinking about which sensory primes we want to use to accelerate the immediate and indirect appeal of our life. The multisensory cues combined with an environment, object, and event, which can be particular realised by their ‘amodal’ properties.  The experience involves stimulus tension, impermanent, and spatial characteristics, even by modality-specific features, such as the pairing of a particular face and voice(Spence & Driver, 2004 ). The specific context where we might already think about which words and phrases might prime thinking and behaviour. It is unlikely we give sensory priming the detailed structured thought it deserves, beyond maybe the role of colour. This paper draws attention to how the environment with sensory experience can subconsciously influence our sensation, perception, meaning, and even behaviour. Hollingworth and Barker (2016) argue that we should not only the directly prime audience but also indirectly make connections and tendency unintentionally via how they hear, observe. For example, by observing from audiences in S&SA project in ARS electronica festival 2019. Some of them mentioned that when they found one of the synthetic creatures in the locker, they will be expected to see more from the other locker without forcing them. Since the power of sensory priming enables us to increase liberality or creativity while being aware of the sensory environment. It might be prime people inadvertently, subconsciously influence our behaviour, or even to avoid this situation.



2.3.2 Priming influence for the perception of the environment unintentionally

Fig. 20, 21,22  Weichen Tang. 0109,2019,  Priming cues affect audience/user’ perceive priming cues in a narrative way in S& SA project

In one hand, people usually see, hear loads of information and stimulation around our daily life. Subconsciousness can pick them up although our brains can not get all of them, and meanwhile, priming can affect audience perception (, 2019). For example, Yanny and Laurel’s experiment: an online user uploaded an ambiguous acoustic sample with a vote that asking what people have they heard. In this case, younger healthy people were more likely to hear “Yanny” due to the ability of higher frequency sounds delations from their ears, and vice versa (Pressnitzer et al., 2018). When people either hear Yanny or Laurel, it depends on how the viral audio primed you to hear as the one you think (Bosker, 2018). Therefore, the fact that the audience already expected to listen to either of the two words. Also, in terms of the ambiguity, the psychologist suggests that people would rely on the priming effects to help them determine what they expect to hear and see (Thoma, 2019). As same as the Rubins vase example for visual priming cue.  

Research suggests that people do not hear via analysing the periodicity of the noises that access to our brain and ears, also then ascertaining the words that these frequencies form (Coudin and Alexopoulos, 2010). Instead, we deal with what is known as top-down processing. The first recognition from our brains sounds like speech. Then, our minds use context cues to interpret the meaning of these speech sounds (Davis and Johnsrude, 2007). For example, S&SA also utilise both the variation of virtual and physical sound that navigate people to explore different places. Through stimulation around the environment, audiences are able to understand the insects’ sound, which was generated by physical, synthetic creatures. Meanwhile, those virtual sound start getting rich and overwhelmed after audience put on the headphone,  the shape of the headphone with two tentacles primed audience to be the part of the insects or to hear the insects related sound when they walk through the space, and also those sounds are more likely perceived as the insects sound in the forest of jungle by interviewing audience. Moreover, according to the interview during ARS electronica festival, we use plant with sweet fresh perfume as to prime the feeling of security for participants via olfaction stimulation within the dim environment, some of the participants mentioned the sound remained them about somewhere close to home, home town, Africa, Tropical Rainforest. They were primed successfully to say about walking alone at night, evening in the forest, jungle, which means that by using visual, olfactory acoustic priming technique due to the dark space design, human perception has been affected inadvertently. However, those recycled materials for sound production have not been discovered and primed well via audience experience, only few people aware of this technique.

In addition, another example is James Turrell’s projects, and he focuses on the exploration of light and space as a medium to encourage the audience to perceive the variation through the immersive light changing the environment in Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2013. And Christine Y. Kim commented: “There is nothing like the experience of a Turrell’s work, which is truly about for the viewer and his or her perception. The medium of perception is the key point for Turrell’s project, as his work

viewers to see themselves see.” The hallucination pieces as a priming effect are more likely to bend the possibilities by Turrell’s light-medium, let participants see what they want to see and understand (James Turrell, 2013) while all the light the visual cues from his projects as a priming aspect to affect people’s perception unintentionally.

Thus, I would argue individuals have a different reaction, although perceived through the same stimuli, that rely on their own preferred experience. Which means, it should be combined with a variety of prime cues to understand and interpret the meaning of atmosphere by own individual perception.

Fig. 23, credits Florian Holzherr , 2013, Los Angeles County Museum of Art,  James Turrell, Ganzefeild “Aural”



2.3.3 Priming influence for perceived response, understanding and meaning


“Thoughts exchanged between me and another

are not the same in one room or another.”

– Light and Space, Louis I. Kahn



On the other hand, priming is an implicit memory (Schacter, 1992), according to the scripts and experience, memory as the part of the process of perception will be influenced by peoples schemata and biases (Russell, 1976). In one experiment, researchers primed participants implicitly with a common word. The reflection appeared when those participants who had been primed with words related to interpreting stereotypes of older people. They seem to walk more like older people than others who had not been primed. Another experiment, research shows when the German background music was played, those German brand wine consumption raised while comparing with French wine in a liquor shop (North, Hargreaves and McKendrick, 1999). However, when they switch to French music, and vise Versa. In this case, priming is also a technique based on one stimulus effect a reaction to another afterward, without conscious induction or meaning (Weingarten et al., 2016). This non- conscious process is aimed to show behaviors, or psychological methods of consciousness is not necessary indeed When we want to make a decision, people well based on what they perceived, and even without awareness of the activity (Gosling et al., 2019). Maybe it has already affected human behavior subtlety.

For example, in the S& SA project, we primed the audience by virtual and physical acoustic interaction to drive them to a different position to explore the changes of the environment through visual, physical creatures connection, and without making the audience think what to do. Simultaneously, people without any thinking tended to open the lockers to find out how many physical creatures are generating sound and interacting with them directly in the FOLD club (typically full of lockers room). Those priming cues already subconsciously navigate audience behavior. They mentioned those synthetic creatures are friendly, welcoming, Some of them told us that they prefer staying at the space. Others mentioned the future imagination according to the combination of the physical environment with virtual soundscape together and even mentioned about the realisation of environmental protection. However, I would question how the audience interprets and understand the meaning? Is it possible to prime them to rethink the relationship between humans and the environment through different priming cues? Although we used loads of recycled materials.

The way of the thinking process to show how the audience understands the project and meaning is different from their own description. In addition, the significant experiment in ‘rain project remarked thirty-eight audiences in total, and fourteen people have prior knowledge about the instrument. Most audiences remember the sound as rain which is familiar from Southeast Asians, and they don’t move throughout the experience, with only two exceptions. Seven audiences mention about homeland/childhood scenes; four of them are Southeast Asians.


Fig. 25 Weichen Tang. 0109,2019,  Audience sketch in Translator project


That reminds me of a design theory that is quite close with the psychological perspective “Affordance”– first defined by James J. Gibson in 1979. It is a relationship between the visual cues that provide through objects, competencies of a person, which interpret how do explain the object should be used. And I would argue that this theory fundamentally could be another priming approach to be applied in narrative environment design. It is to remind users/ audience to think, understanding, even having different meaning through their own experience. For example, Naoatu Fukasawa transformed Gibson’s theory of “Affordance” into the industrial design with particularly strong given meaning, such as the popular CD player design. Fukasawa wanted to design objects with the context that would trigger an automatic or unconscious response in its user. He points out this instinctive response as “Without Thought,” arguing that products should not need an instruction manual, that their functionality should be evident instinctively. Although Don Norman has explained the different point of view in his essay ( Norman, 1999), the concept of affordance, typically is useful for the applicable concept for usability designers and practitioners.


Fig. 26 Weichen Tang. 0109,2019,  Audience feedback in S&SA project


For example, Olafur Eliasson displayed twenty-four blocks of melting glacial ice in Tate Britain, London as his part of the ‘ice watch project in 2018, and six extra blocks shown outside in front of the blooper headquarters. In terms of the ice gradually melting, the audience had opportunities to run into the real influence of climate change and sense the feeling of ice thaws. Olafur Eliasson did not force them to consider climate change, but it is such a warning to the prime audience to rethinking the relationship between the environment and humans. Besides, this project opened to the public after utilising the IPCC report publishing as a priming effect to warn humans. It aims to remind humans that we only have 12 years to control and restrict the most severe influence of climate change. Hence, the priming technique has been successfully applied in this kind of situation to affect the message of the meaning by audience description.


Fig. 26, Credits Weichen Tang, Ice-Watch (2018) by Olafur Eliasson with Minik Rosing. Installation views at Tate Britain, London



Chapter 3

The argument of priming limitations


Priming isn’t a catholicon as there is a lot of arguments for the actual effectiveness of using priming outside of the academic world. However, the criticisms aimed at priming studies seem to address, as the New York Times mentioned it, “how best to elicit and measure intriguing properties of the unconscious and, more broadly, how to ensure that the tenets of science – transparency, skepticism, and self-correction – manifest themselves in its conduct.”

Gutting,(2019)voiced out, “The purpose of priming experiments seldom is to enhance the importance of priming is in a realistic situation. It has striking effects under the conditions of the simplified and controlled trials, where different subjects are analyzed rarely to the stimuli that participants provide. However, it is still hard to know how significant priming stimuli (regard with property, numbers, ambiguity questions) should be in real life.

Some of the stimuli might not be the same as one other due to the Uncontrolled context and environment. Also, there is rarely a reason to think the power of priming will last for the long term. Therefore, the same audience still will have a different response at a different moment to the same social prime’ nudge,’ and people have unique ‘shaped’ systems.



Chapter 4

Implications and conclusion

Fig. 28, Pallot et al., 2015 The Iterative Nature of the Experiential Design Process, An Experiential Design Process and Holistic Model of User Experience for Supporting User Co-creation

Fig. 29, Pallot et al., 2015  Concurrent Cycles of the Experiential Design , An Experiential Design Process and Holistic Model of User Experience for Supporting User Co-creation

Fig. 30, Weichen Tang, Design ambitions


These two diagrams show the iteration of the complete UX(User experience design ) Life- cycle. And it inspired me as a designer should be more complex from a different angle to think in a multidisciplinary design way. Raijmakers, Dick, and Gough (2013) argue that service designers and innovators need to enhance with users/participants and service providers to understand what value of service experience. And with the solution for helping people, facilitation of services for interactions. The experiential design incorporates parts from various disciplines, whereas, fundamentally, it regards creating a tremendous user/ experience. Jason While (2017) mentioned, most of the people have had to switch away from traditional media work, event, museum design, narrative environment. And the experiential design is the most effective expression with the combination of human-centered design thinking to make participants intrigue in terms of the fresh experience, and with the unexpected environment. This figure reminds me to rethink of how could architecture, and the situation is considered with human-friendly service, needs, and experience together in the future.

And here I would argue that we might use priming as a bridge to make up the gap from experience design and experiential design through narrative and multi-sensory experience, although as a phenomenon, designers still confused the difference between each of them. And the XD and holistic UX design approach provides a reliable exploration of co-creation with a rapidly UX assessment driving towards a higher rate of user adoption (Hodza, 2009). Thus, the truth is within innovative domains such as IoT-based products and services where the competition relies on the combination of creating new knowledge while shortening the time-to-market.


In this paper, priming influence aims to understand how it helps in psychological studies and marketing strategies. It should be useful in both virtual, physical narrative environments as well. Which means, it might be one of the ways to improve the overall user experience more friendly via enhancing the human’s sensation and perception. And it has to been used correctly regard with carrying through the whole journey and experience as well. So far, S&SA project still should spend time considering the human experience journey with priming effect adequately based on the previous exhibition experience and audience feedback. But as a severe concern from a designer’s perspective, the overall social phenomenon and environment protection could be the start point of living state for the human to aware based on my research point. Utilising the design thinking approach, finding the typical target audience is to define a better specific priming pattern, which is necessary to understand their needs, desires, and expectations appropriately.

Besides, even a narrative approach with the audience journey are more likely acceptable for normal people based on the research through this paper. Since the pattern of priming effect would be defined well to serve the audience to understand events, an environment in a simple way. Specifically,  S&SA will keep designing multi-sensory experience of priming effect to accelerate audience sensation, which is to evoke improves how people perceive the environment with a subtle influence of priming. In spite of questioning priming effect of the inattention response via regarding the lack of diversity in focus groups for priming research, with the analysis of how the priming influence of audience perception is still on the halfway.

In sum, like most techniques, the designer needs to consider priming method via the experience design process with experiential design, although it is still according to the different requirements. Depending on the circumstances, we should think about the audience/ user experience process, which we design will benefit from applying the priming effect in different scenarios and environments. In optimisations, defining elements well can be used to prime a particular action.  The possibility of the relationship with priming techniques with narrative environment perceptions still will continue to be explored.







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List of figures

Fig. 1, David Lau. 2905,2015 Architect Photograph of User experience design vs. Architecture

Fig. 2,: Dan Saffer, 2008, The discipline of user experience

Fig. 3, Weichen Tang. 0109, 2019,  Relationship of Priming influence between Audience / users in narrative environment

Fig. 4, Apple mouse generation 2, 2018,

Fig. 5, Weichen Tang. 0109, 2019,  User/ audience research and understanding to avoid negative effect unexpectedly

Fig. 6, Weichen Tang. 0109, 2019,  Defining the priming pattern through each touchpoint for desired action

Fig. 7, NNGROUP. 0511,2019, Experience journey maps produce the concept of audience/user journey via user types, products and service.

Fig. 8, Weichen Tang, Disney theme park, galaxy edge, 0105,2018.

Fig. 9, Frank Van De Ven, 2008, 2019,  Overall purchasing journey through online to offline touch points,Transactional Vs Experiential journeys: understanding and designing for both

Fig. 10, Frank Van De Ven, 2008, 2019,  Transactional Vs Experiential journeys: understanding and designing for both

Fig. 11, Chu, J. and Mazalek, A. 2019, Three spectra comprising the Tangible and Embodied Narrative Framework (TENF).

Fig. 12,  Weichen Tang, 0228, 2019, Narrative journey process with priming setting, design portfolio

Fig. 13, Kornbongkoch Harnpinijsak, 2805, 2019,  sound of the rain script from‘Translator’ exquisite instrument project

Fig.14, Weichen Tang 0509, 2019,  S&SA in ARS Electronica festival exhibition

Fig.15  Nong Hua Lim, Weichen Tang, Kornbongkoch Harnpinijsak, designed for 3 species and 4 types of creatures, S& SA plan in ARS electronica festival

Fig.16 Credits, Nongi Hua Lim, S& SA project soundscape definition 0509,2019,  soundscape area for 3 species and 4 types of creatures

Fig. 17, Weichen Tang, Disney theme park, Hongkong 0105,2018.

Fig. 18, Weichen Tang. 0109, 2019, Using proper priming cues through expected experience with surrounding environment

Fig. 19, BritVisual design cues in three rooms. These rooms were designed to emphasise specific attributes of the whisky: (A) grassy, (B) sweet, and (C) woody attributes of the whisky. Images are courtesy of the British Broadcasting Corporation on March 26, 2013

Fig. 20, Weichen Tang. 0109, 2019,  Priming cues affect audience/user’ perceive priming cues in narrative way in S& SA project

Fig. 21, Weichen Tang. 0109,  2019, priming objects, visual cues, Sounds and sweet airs.

Fig. 22, Weichen Tang. 0109, 2019,  using recycled materials to generate sound in S& SA and rain project

Fig. 23, credits Florian Holzherr , 2013, Los Angeles County Museum of Art,  James Turrell, Ganzefeild “Aural”

Fig. 24, Nick Kolenda. 0109, 2017, Subliminal Messages: Do They Really Work? Credits (North, Hargreaves, & McKendrick, 1999).

Fig. 25 Weichen Tang. 0109,2019,  Audience sketch in Translator project

Fig. 26 Weichen Tang. 0109,2019,  Audience feedback in S&SA project

 Fig. 27, Credits Weichen Tang, Ice Watch (2018) by Olafur Eliasson with Minik Rosing. Installation views at Tate Britain, London

Fig. 28, Pallot et al., 2015 The Iterative Nature of the Experiential Design Process, An Experiential Design Process and Holistic Model of User Experience for Supporting User Co-creation

Fig. 29, Pallot et al., 2015  Concurrent Cycles of the Experiential Design , An Experiential Design Process and Holistic Model of User Experience for Supporting User Co-creation



1. David Lau, UX/UI lead,  Architect, at Sushmobile, based in New Zealand, 

2. Priming types in diffrent types, exposure/response times, and stimuli type (Elgendi et al., 2018)

3. ‘Ocean’ model (Rothmann S, Coetzer EP, 2003) is:

Openness — Does he/she enjoy new experiences?

Conscientiousness — Does he/she prefer plans and order?

Extraversion — Does he/she like spending time with others?

Agreeableness — Does he/she put other people’s needs before theirs?

Neuroticism — Does he/she tend to worry a lot?

4. David M. Buss (born April 14, 1953) is an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, theorizing and researching human sex differences in mate selection.

5.Translator is an instrument using materials as alphabets to translate the sound of the rain from Bangkok to Here East. Designers: Nong hua Lim, Kornbongkoch Harnpinijsak, Weichen Tang,(Dec,2018) , using ‘rain project ‘ as abbreviation through the whole thesis.

6. Sounds, and sweet airs is using ‘S& SA ‘as the abbreviation in the rest of the thesis.

7.Naoto Fukasawa is a famous Japanese industrial designer whose philosophy is for designing products is to be in a state of being without thought.

8. Professor Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford.

9. Using S& SA as the abbreviation of ‘Sounds, and sweet airs’.

10. ‘Sweet airs’ means that we use plant and sweet fragrance as one of the main olfactories through the whole sensory experience

11.  Rubin’s Vase is a popular optical illusion used to illustrate differences in the perception of stimuli.

12. Top-down processing is when we form our perceptions starting with a larger object, concept, or idea before working our way toward more detailed information.

13. Experience design considers on omnichannel journeys, target on focuses on how people sense, perceive, react, and use through digital and physical objects (N. Buford, 2019)

14. Experiential design involves different sensory experiences with technology to create the connection between human within the environment, forces on transforming messages, arousing feelings, and engaging the senses. (N. Buford, 2019)






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