Some of my early blogs discussed using Maslow Hierarchy of Needs as a scaffold for creating better and hopefully optimal (at that point in time) customer/consumer/user experiences of a product or service. The reason we adopted the model was to help innovation teams decompose the experience into more meaningful chunks that could then be modified or replaced in creative ways to improve the situation we were addressing. I led a team that was involved in improving the design process; improving the choosing, using and exploiting of the potential in new (mainly computer-based) design tools; developing new tools if no commercial ones were available. (our day job was to take aesthetic design concepts of varying quality of development and reconcile consumer, company and supplier requirements to produce packaging that was "fit for the job").
So we took the Maslow definitions and created an equivalent consumer experience:
self-actualisation needs iconic
esteem needs personality
belonging or social become engagement
The beauty of using a common framework is that we can map consumer goods, cars, industrial products, enterttainment (like cirque du Soleil) onto this and so get cross organisational and cross-functional knowledge transfer. So if we take the 'user needs and desires diagram' from Kathy Sierra's post we end up with the diagram below for the user experience side of the pyramid ( and I'll blog about how this enables us to face the other sides in next post):