Symbolic meaning of ‘Environmental Mastery’: Symbolizes the ability to manage or create a suitable environment to accommodate personal needs and values
Material possessions can symbolize environmental mastery because they enable and represent certain skills or competences, because they facilitate and represent the construction of beneficial networks and partnerships, or because they symbolize personally significant values and concerns, etc. Material possessions with a symbolic meaning of environmental mastery support subjective well-being because they support a sense of personal and social thriving.
An example of a material possession with the symbolic meaning of environmental mastery is a sewing machine that supported a “Do It Yourself” principle of living, allowing the development of skills that contribute to environmental mastery.
To help designers use the six happiness-related symbolic meanings, we developed 16 specific design directions. These are the ones most related to environmental mastery:
Support multi-sensorial communication, by translating messages into a sensorial experiences. (Linked to the symbolic meaning of environmental mastery)
…how does your user convey proximity?
Provide a context for meaningful interaction, by making use of the context or limitations as an advantage. (Linked to the symbolic meaning of environmental mastery)
…what opportunities/limitations does your user’s context present?
In addition, designers and design researchers helped us select some product examples to illustrate this symbolic meaning:
The Elfoid P1 by ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory is a hybrid of cellphone and robot that transmits voice and motion to convey a person’s “presence.” It relates to the symbolic meaning of environmental mastery because it aims to improve communication, which supports social relations and the construction of beneficial networks.
Family Matters by Noa Dotan is a collection of soft toys resembling animals designed to facilitate communication in family therapy through role play. It relates to the symbolic meaning of environmental mastery because it allows users to overcome difficulties in expressing themselves, their needs and concerns, which is essential to create a safe and adequate context to thrive in.