The User Experience in Saving the World


Advocacy Campaigning

Advocacy is defined as the act of supporting a cause or issue to achieve a desired result. It is your actions directed specifically at changing the world for the better, however, you define that. Whilst a campaign is simply an organized course of action to achieve a goal.

An advocacy campaign, as opposed to a marketing or political campaign, is differentiated by its intention to achieving one of these four types of goals:

  • raising awareness
  • helping more people contribute to the end goal
  • aligning opinion formers
  • lobbying decision makers

These goals broadly describe what the campaign needs to achieve to be be successful, but does not capture what it means to be the user or ‘advocate’ of a campaign.

The Experience of Everything

I recently came across Jesse James Garrett‘s talk at UX Week 2009, which defined user experience (UX) with four dimensions: Perception, Action, Cognition and Emotion.

Jesse James Garret PACE 26:20

The PACE model and UX disciplines

External engagement: Our interaction with the world via

  • Perception: engaging the senses
  • Action: engaging the body

Internal engagement: What’s going on in our heads through

  • Cognition: engaging the mind
  • Emotion: engaging the heart

Making up the acronym PACE.

UX Element / DisciplinePACE DimensionNotes
Information ArchitectureCognitionConcerned with the way people process and gain meaning from information.
Information DesignCongnition, PerceptionDeals with the intersection between thinking and perceiving
Visual DesignPerception
Interaction DesignActionIt's all about behaviour
Navigation Design
Interface Design
Congnition, Perception, ActionFocusing on where these 3 come together

In fact, Garrett states that all areas of design fit with this model.

4 Dimensions of UX (PACE)

The PACE Model and Other Design Disciplines

It’s not surprising to see game design placed at the centre of these 4 dimensions. But it dawned on me, that advocacy and campaigning also fit very much at this centre.

Like the experience of choosing to play a game, a call to ‘change the world for the better’ is one that must engage us to see, feel, think and then act voluntarily towards an unnecessary goal.

A Voluntary Act

An advocacy campaign expects to change the world, but for the majority of people those specific goals, no matter how lofty or worthy will simply be pushed aside by the demands of their everyday lives. This is true even in the case of advocacy for issues that may seem wholly necessary by those already committed to it.

Even with climate change campaigning and epic high stakes. No one has to save the world.

Our everyday lives are wrapped in the comfortable acceptance of the way things are. An average user’s perception of a campaign starts with viewing the goal as unnecessary.

A campaign must take someone from seeing an unnecessary goal through to acting for it passionately. To create a transformation and experience, it would bring all four UX dimensions together in harmony and add a world changing purpose to it.

In short, to campaign to save the world, it requires the design of hero experiences.


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