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July 16, 2020

Emotions, feelings, sentiments.. too mainstream? - A blog on Emotion based design

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Posted by:
Viswa Harini

Emotions, feelings, sentiments.. too mainstream? This blog will tell how important they are in the design world! Emotions flow towards anything and everything people deal with. Whenever we encounter something, human psychology says that we tend to connect with it. Either we like it or dislike it or somewhere in between we ignore it because the impact was not so great.

What is it to do with design?

When we design a product, we often take utmost care to the logics, the use cases, the functionalities and all the other UX jargons but what is crucial is the user's feelings that arise while using it. The overall experience is influenced by the memories that are going to be left behind even after using the product.

Emotional design is an approach to create products that evoke positive feelings for users. These emotions have a direct impact on the success of the product and therefore should be handled wisely. All advertisements, product selling, marketing, storytelling aim at emotions. They try to capture the real moments that people undergo in day to day life and relate it with their product. That's how certain advertisements influence us so much and stay longer in our memories.

Donald Norman had distinguished between the three aspects of the emotional system, that is, the sum of the parts responsible for emotion in the human mind, which are as follows: the visceral, behavioral and reflective levels.

I don't know why, but I want this!

This is the initial level of encounter with the product, where the first impression matters the most - the Visceral level. It concerns itself with appearances, grabbing the user's attention with sensory information such as visuals, audio and sometimes haptic. This level taps into our subconscious mind, by-passing the conscious processing, that users most often are not able to reason out their feelings. This is where designers use their creativity by using attractive colors, impactful captions, minimalistic and neat UI. Sometimes products are sold at this level itself!

I have a small story from my personal experience, which got me into the visceral emotions. When I was window shopping across the streets of T.Nagar, I happened to see this beautiful umbrella with all bright colors. It was so attractive to me that I didn't even give a thought if it was actually going to serve the purpose or worth the money. I simply wanted to buy and keep it at least for a photoshoot!

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It's so easy to use

This level comes into picture when the product is being used and is called the Behavioural level. It not only looks good but also performs well. People start analysing consciously at this stage. These emotions directly are influenced by the effectiveness of use with respect to the functionality and interactions. User's needs are never obvious, the design needs to be thoughtfully made such that it anticipates all possible behaviour. The purpose of the product should be easily conveyed and the user flow should be maintained as smooth as possible.

"Good behavioral design is like a lock and key. Customers and their behavior are the lock, the product is the key"

One great example I came across on the internet is the design of this trash can. It is not only aesthetic but highly usable too. Just reshaping the holes to indicate different types of waste makes it much easier for the users without making them think too much.

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You should definitely try this!

This is called the reflective level which comes after using the product. People start bonding with the product, reflect back on the experience, start telling stories about it and often themselves do the branding for the product. Here, when the emotions are positive along with visceral and behavioural emotions, it adds value to the users life, which is very crucial for us as designers. The memories and level of satisfaction obtained at this stage lasts for a longer time and counts for the overall user experience.

Emotional Design

Therefore, Good Design is one which gives a holistic positive emotion by impressing the users at visceral level, providing intuitive interactions, usability at behavioural level and satisfying the users at reflective level. The best way to ensure that you get the best of the designing services, contact Appiness Interactive, a reliable Web Design Company in Bangalore.

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