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User Experience and Emotional Design

User Experience and Emotional Design
Neha Srivastava - Deputy Manager | December 26, 2017
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What is an experience? Looking from time’s perspective, experience is not one moment, but a time phrase, which can vary from a few minutes to hours to month or even years. Experience is not just one emotion but the sum of all emotions with respect to someone or something. Experience is the emotional impact from an event or a series of events.

The Internet is no longer just a place for information and facts. Along with information, it is the experience of web that speaks. Now, we have so many choices available that users demands are increasingly about a great experience – something has to be put on high priority by the brands, product owners, and eventually by app developers.

In retrospect, today’s web is significantly different than that of early 2000s when it was in its nascent state. Since then, things are getting constantly re-defined. Given this rate of accelerated evolution, nobody knows where the internet would be after ten years from now. People are getting very expressive on internet. As the time span of usage of web has increased over the decade, people love to get personal and emotional over web. The Human factors of the web has always over-ruled the technological constraints and acted as core component to push the technological boundaries further. And to a great extent of pleasure, it has adapted to the emotional need of the users. Social media tools, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter are all good examples of self-expression of emotions and sharing personal stuffs. That is the reason for development of thousands of emoticons, which assist the users in the expression of emotions.

With the changing experience on Internet, the concepts of User Experience have to go through a transformation, and embrace such ideas as Emotional Design. One of the biggest transformations in strategy of User Experience is to provide not only the information needed in meaningful flow, but also to cater the emotional need of users varying from culture to culture. Users like to being connected all the time and they spend more time and frequent visits on internet. For instance: spending ample amount of time a day on Facebook, WhatsApp etc. has become a trend as it caters to the emotional need of the user.

Hence, it won’t be inappropriate to say that internet today has won its place as a most desirable thing, and is playing a crucial role in providing its users the feeling of Sense of Worth.

The reason behind this paradigm shift is because of the universal connect of the web, which has come to cater to the emotional need of its users. People are drawn to things that trigger some kind of positive or negative emotions. We are attracted to images that we view as interesting, beautiful/bad and somehow relates to us. UX designing for emotions consider this natural human behaviour and uses them for the advantage of designing the future apps. The designed app that considers human emotions is treated as a living entity that takes care of user’s emotions and communicates with him/her.

Emotional Parameters

There are certain parameters that can be followed in the UX industry for establishing a better relation with users and take care of their emotions.

  1. Humour & Enthusiasm: Urban life if full of stress. With more and more people getting into depression, there is a natural urge to spare out sometime in de-stressing. Laughing heartily for few minutes can refresh the mind and release chemicals that helps in getting relief from depression. An application which helps relieve stress are a hit. For example: Imgur, Funny AF, The onion, IFunny etc. are mostly downloaded for fun and de-stressing.
  2. Identity: Working in a corporate ‘nine to six’ environment for long dissolves the personality of an individual and ‘monotony’ slowly creeps into their lifestyle. It is very important for these people to find themselves an enriching and vibrant identity and spend some time daily in that identity to get some energy, relaxation, and get going with life. For example: Facebook, LinkedIn, Aboutme etc.
  3. Engagement: Engagement is very important for making the visitors return to the site again and again. Users will return to a site only if the content is able to engage them in some way or the other through some sort of visual stimulation (video, graphics), customization, or interactive tool. For example: Pinterest, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
  4. Communication: In today’s world of real-time interconnectedness, communication is the core necessity and users value authentic, relational and useful communication. Communication through an app should be very friendly so that the user can personify the app as a well-being and a helpful friend. Any relations built on emotions always matters. The tone of voice and word selection play an important role in accomplishing this goal.
  5. Trust: Trust is most important for the health and age of any relation. The user should feel safe and should trust to share their information and communicate. Filling up a form and submitting it, access to phone contact, Facebook etc. are a few features, which require complete trust on brand or app, or else the user will never visit the application again, which show a sign of scepticism. The intention behind asking information and privacy policy should be well defined for the app to induce trust factor. For example: Gmail.

Engagement is very important for making the visitors return to the site again and again.

Conclusion

Just like our five sense make us feel connected to the world outside, incorporation of emotional experience in the products is necessary to ensure their place in the user’s personal space. Therefore, it is imperative to leverage emotional design principles for delivering product experiences that are as natural and close as possible to human behaviour. Experience can be made more engaging by using elements and interactions that relate to human natural instincts and psychology. Finally, one should also learn to avoid negative emotions in the user experience of a product.

As a User Experience (UX) designer, we want users to enjoy the product by eliminating negative experiences and inducing positive emotions in the users. Emotions are so prominent that a negative effect can make it difficult to complete a simple task, whereas a positive effect or enthusiasm would make it easier to complete even the most difficult tasks.

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