Shared experiences are cultural phenomena that are understood widely within some group of users, normally a cultural group. Many people in the group will have first-hand experience with the pattern, while those who haven't will understand it through cultural associations. Because of this, the creator can rely on these associations being understood more than personal experiences.
Using shared experience does introduce a culturally specific element into a design. Those who are not part of the targeted culture, and even those who are part of the culture but have no first-hand experience with the pattern, will often feel excluded for designs making use of shared experiences.
Document Name: tc.assoc.share.htm
Copyright (c) 1997 -- Mike Fletcher
Reproduction for other than personal use prohibited without express written permission from the author.