Why design for emotion?
Humans are emotional creatures. We are fascinated by things that arouse, inspire or provoke us. We are drawn to things we consider beautiful, interesting, or cool.
The Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT) is an audience-centered approach that focuses on what people do with media, as opposed to what media does to people. UGT maintains that people choose specific media or prefer a specific product not only for its utility, but for the gratification it supplies.
Designing for emotion and mood embraces these natural tendencies and puts them into the UX design.
Emotions are short-lived feelings that come from a known cause, while moods are feelings that are longer lasting than emotions and have no clear starting point of formation. Emotions can range from happy, ecstatic, sad and prideful, while moods are either positive or negative.
UX design considers both the spirit of the organization, product or app as well as the mood of its customers or users. It’s true that you can’t always discern the mood of your users, but you can try to express a specific mood by using the right elements.
BY MIKLOS PHILIPS
Emotions, not surprisingly, influence user engagement and loyalty. When a product or app fulfills an emotional motivator 1 (in line with UGT as mentioned earlier) the more likely it is to generate emotional loyalty. The popularity of social media networks can be attributed to person’s desire to belong and feel part of a group, for example. If we keep users happy, we are fulfilling a basic need. Hopefully, that will – in turn – benefit us.
So, how can you include emotion in your product design? Well, you should of course consider design elements that affect mood, such as colors or font types. (We’ll get to those another time!)
Meanwhile, here are some less tangible ways to express emotion in your product’s design.
Start with the basics
The most successful products are the ones that deliver the function promised.
Does the product reliably do what it is meant to do? And does it do so in the most intuitive way possible? A product needs to first provide basic user needs. Only then can it go the distance by including elements for enjoyment, engagement and emotion.
We all want happy users. People more easily connect with positive and humorous content, so a cheerful message or amusing animation is usually welcome. Delighting users will resonate with users and form a positive connection with your brand.
Try to offer more than a beautiful and usable product. Include a “Wow!” moment. The wow moment is not to showcase how wonderful, you are. These special moments should always be user-centric. Don’t delight just to appear cool. Done poorly, moments intended to “wow!” can sadly be annoying.
The best way to exceed user expectations – to generate the upbeat emotion you want associated with your product – is to design something surprising that actually helps your users achieve the results they’re trying to accomplish. For example, you can provide a simpler and more effective solution, a fun solution or even offer a solution that prevents a problem they might not (yet) have.
In today’s social world, we are connected to each other more than ever. Sometimes we’re not interacting with an actual person. Instead, we’re having a conversation with a machine. Either way, designing for meaningful communication is valued whenever and wherever we can get it.
The importance of communication has made conversational interfaces one of the important technological goals for many of the world’s leading companies. (You can read this designer’s fascinating account about his chatbot experiment here.) But it’s not enough for a bot to be able to uphold its end of the conversation. Researchers are exploring ways to provide them with emotional intelligence as well.
Conversation isn’t necessarily only words anymore. For example, with the advent of instant messaging (IM), which denies the ability to see facial expression in conversations, emoticons have proved to to be a successful way to convey emotion and mood in conversations.
It’s the start of a beautiful relationship
Consider ways you can design your product and user experience to leverage emotions and mood. When you use emotion, you can better communicate to the people using your product that you seek a long term and authentic relationship with them. Designing for emotion, coupled with voice and language, will take your product far.