Peak experience featured

Why you should design for peak experiences?

When you Google the definition of peak experience, this is the first thing that pops up:

A peak experience is a moment accompanied by a euphoric mental state often achieved by self-actualizing individuals.

If this definition doesn’t enlighten your soul, I don’t know what does. I feel like I have achieved inner peace after reading this piece of text. Okay let’s come back to the real world now.

Peak experiences are often described as transcendent moments of pure joy and elation. These are moments that stand out from everyday events. The memory of such events is lasting and people often liken them to a spiritual experience.If you have come across Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, then you must be aware that self actualization is located at the very top of the pyramid.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs with peak experiences at top

One of the best ways to think of peak experiences is to think of the most wonderful experiences of your life — those moments of ecstasy and utter happiness. Peak experiences play an important role in self actualization as it leads to the path of achieving one’s full potential. Self-actualization is actually considered quite rare, which means that peak experiences can be equally elusive.

Peak experiences generate positive emotions and people often experience a sense of losing track of time because they are genuinely enjoying the moment.

How do I design for peak experiences?

Although there are no set of rules when it comes to designing for peak experience, here are some things you can keep in mind in order to achieve the impact:

1. Try to build extreme user personas

User personas play a really important role when you are in the user research phase and are trying to define your user base for whom you will be designing the product for. Try to be really great for a small group of people rather than being average for a large group of people. Pick an audience that would really like to invest in your product and would chose it instead of the other products whenever presented with an option. Remember that a good enough product never wins whenever given a choice.

2. Focus on definite set of issues

Always try to focus on specific set of problems rather than trying to solve each and every problem with your design. Remember that peak experience occurs whenever we have the freedom of choosing things for ourselves instead of someone else choosing them for us.

Snapchat is a great example of this. Teenagers and younger group of audience constantly have the urge to share what’s happening in their lives with their favorite group of people and Snapchat gave them this opportunity by introducing the concept of snaps and user stories leading to a huge market hit.

3. Pick a niche market

Apple fanboys/fangirls, why do they exist? Because for them Apple is more than just a brand, it’s a culture. Competitor analysis is a must when doing user research. Does your product provide features that no other product in the market currently delivers or how are your features better than them? It all begins by acquiring trust of a certain group of people and helping them solve the problems that they are facing in their day to day lives.

4. Make the user’s experience more delightful

We love to use the term “delightful” when trying to design an experience, as in “You have to make your user experience delightful.” What we really mean when we say “make it delightful” is to remember that we are designing for people not robots and people want instant gratification (unless you’re The Terminator). Here is an example of Mailchimp’s famous “Freddie high five”.


Give your users a sense of accomplishment after they complete a task within your product. This is the part where micro-interactions play an important role. Once your users feel like being valued while using the product, they will surely come back and hopefully bring their friends along as well!

Next article: Design podcasts to spark your imagination