#IXD303 – Emotional Design

What is it?

Emotional Design is a term populated by Donald Arthur, which is an approach in design to make creative interfaces that trigger positive emotional responses from users, as these emotions can create a positive perception of the product in the view of the users.

Don Norman’s Three Levels of Emotional Design

1. Visceral Design

This level of design ‘concerns itself with appearances and is about evoking a subconscious reaction from the user, For example, utilising colour theory (e.g., black for elegance, or blue for calmness). This level is most concerned with how users feel when they look at your product.

2. Behavioural Design 

This is related to how user-friendly and functional a design is. This aspect is most related to how users carry out activities, how quickly and accurately they can achieve the desired outcome, how many errors are encountered along the way, and how these make the user feel, For example, feeling enjoyment from a well-designed app, or the ease of navigation. If products enable a user to achieve their goals with ease, then emotions are likely to be positive.

3. Reflective Design

This aspect invokes a more conscious approach from the user; weighing up the pros and cons or being able to predict the impact of a product in their everyday life. At this stage of the design, designers want to increase the user’s likelihood of buying and using the product.

How to use emotional design to offer a better UX

User visual elements to stimulate user emotions – create a variety of graphics that elicit positive emotions from users. This can be achieved by utilising the proper colours, typography and layout that is most appealing to the eye.

Create smart interactions – Effective interaction designs allow users to complete a task hassle-free and make users come away from the experience with a positive view of the product.

Use unique design styles and themes – A design that is unique and interesting will distinguish it and make it stand out from other products that are similar. This will make the product more recognisable, creative conversation and establish an emotional connection with the user.

Use well-crafted content – It’s important to use emotive words when communicating with the users as to not bore them, and make them feel a connection with the product, that will leave them wanting to engage further. It’s also important to really inject passion into the design as this will come across to users.

Give details – details direct users through a product, helpoing them to understand, resulting in a better user experience.


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