The Health Experience Wheel uses happy and sad face emoticons to help visually represent key experiences in a consumer story. Of course, people have a variety of experience responses, but by keeping it simple with happy and sad faces, we derive the most important points most naturally from storytellers and communicate the essence of a story most effectively to decision-makers. These experience points can easily tell us what was good or bad, positive or negative, made storytellers feel good, and made them feel bad. In addition to this, the happy and sad faces make it easy to see what the ratio of good and bad experience points were, and to get a compelling sense of the overall experience without having to do too much thinking or interpreting. 

While ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ faces are easy to understand visual depictions of positive and negative experiences of health system, they may not always be appropriate tools. For example in the case of stories that include experiences of signficant emotional pain, the emotional register of ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ may not respectfully or adequately communicate the depth of emotion and experience felt by a storyteller as a result of their health system experience. Remember that the Health Experience Wheel isn’t the only way to effectively present and communicate consumer stories. 

Always reflect and use your judgement about whether the Health Experience Wheel is the best tool you have to communicate each story. If you intend to use the Health Experience Wheel tool, make participants aware of this before you invite them to tell their story – you can provide sample Experience Wheels so they know what they are agreeing to.

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