muditha batagoda
Jan 19, 2017 · 6 min read

Why emotion should be a major factor

When I started working for ACCELaero as a product designer I had some interesting time with the products I had to work with. The products were designed to ease the processes in Aviation Industry many years back when the design, interactions, and emotions were just words and main focus to get the day-to-day functions done.

Revamping already established systems was quite a challenge since the users have been trained for many years and they have their own workarounds to get the work done. In these types of cases uses tend to react negatively towards the new system due to changes being done to the system and being moved away from the current way of working.

Why Emotion plays a big role?

As humans, we always relay our actions on emotions and favors reason. For an example, the first impression towards someone or something would create the emotion. Impression and emotion always complement each other and rely on each other to create a certain connection towards the environment and emotion always can be a perspective thing.

Emotions can be negative or positive in the way we make them. Emotions help to remember things if it is a good or bad experience. For example, if you go to a restaurant and have a meal and the meal is really good our impression towards the meal helps to remember how good it was after some time or when re-visited again. basically, we learn what is good for us and bad for us by the help of being emotional.

What is emotional design?

Emotional design is not something we put as a part of the User experience design process or a design concept that we use to do the visual design. Emotional design address the relationship between the objects and subjects of the design. In other terms, designers use emotional design to focus on personal concerns, values, and meaning to evoke targeted emotions by talking to design decisions they make. Adding emotional aspect to design would improve the experience of the throughout the interaction and would help to give a proper feedback on the experience.

Products and emotional design

When I was working in the products my main concern was how will the user react to the change of design? would it be a positive one or a negative one?

there were some days I had less sleep thinking this matter and I had to take empathy as a critical consideration when designing the product, putting myself in the situation of the users that uses the system every day for many years with them gave me a huge advantage in understanding their problems and gave me the insight to how they work on the product, what methodologies they use, what are the workarounds the users use to complete a task. Most of the time in the existing system they put functionality over other critical aspects. But by focusing in on user’s emotions when performing a task helped me to understand their reaction towards the existing system. I kept a close look towards their feedback when performing the tasks and understood that I should filter personal perspective of being bias towards their workarounds.

A critical thing I understood that the change towards the system should not make the users anxious or nervous of what they are dealing with. When people get anxious or nervous the productivity of the tasks that they perform would go lower and might narrow their thinking process. The approach should be more relaxing so the users can come up with better solutions or feedback when given the new designs.

Impression creates emotion and emotion formulates perspective, which could sway both positive and negative. When this boils down to Product Design, monotony and bad UX at the initial stage of customer engagement could decide what emotions the users would harbor towards that product. A bad impression goes on to compound within the user through his multiples uses. That leads to frustration, which turns into a distasteful emotion. That disappointment leads to abandonment of the product

Why People find products uneasy or not good?

  1. People get bored — When coming into product design the product and the user should have powerful engagement. I noticed that uses get bored whenever there is a lag, when their information requested being processed for too long, when the users misses mandatory fields too many times, when there is no proper information hierarchy and the users have to run here and there inside the product to find what they need to perform a certain task. In my designs, I took this issue to consideration and minimized it.
  2. People get frustrated and confused— People get frustrated really quickly when they don’t understand how to perform a certain task and when they don’t find an exit point to end the task and leave the system. Most of the time users get frustrated when words in a system don’t mean what they do. This has become a huge problem when communicating with the system and I found out that users use some part of the system just by experience or gut feeling. The designs I have made make sure that the users have entry and exit points in the design and works has the proper meaning when come to functions.

Good looking design + Satisfied users Makes Good Products

As I said the functionality is considered as a key factor in products and most of the people tend to think it is a global truth. If the product is robust and powerful people think that the users will use the product more and choose it over others. But that is not the case, the products that have a pretty UI tend to Attract more users nevertheless their performance level and extremely high prices because of the emotional impact that the products create in the minds of the users.

Its all have to do with Three levels of processing

  1. visceral —This level is completely based on scenery information based in our subconscious. It’s totally based on how we interact with the environment such as smell, feel or touch. We always tend to be selective when coming in to taste, color and feel. We like to see vivid colors like to taste food that makes our taste buds feel better, like to hear music that feels better or fits the mood. So those kinds of effects can be bought up by making a clean design with necessary vivid colors into the product and make the users feel better when interacting with the product.
  2. behavioural — This level’s all about interacting with the object. How the system responds to the commands we give out and what is the feedback and what is the expected output of the user when requested details from the system all come under this. If we feel like we know what we are doing and we have the control over the system we feel happy and satisfied of the tasks we did and goals we achieved.
  3. reflective — It’s all about the experience we had with the product. When the user interacts with a product he/she rationalize the product experience with prior and carve out the values that bought up by the product prior to the use of the new system and when using the new system. This level always oversees the other two levels and make aware if the user is having a bad or good experience overall with the product.

The ideal thing when comes to product design is to have a level of emotion to wrap the system being designed. This would help the user to work ease and happy with the product and would benefit the user and the product companies long terms in proper communication to understand what the real problems are and giving out proper solutions to minimize the problems.


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muditha batagoda

Written by

Product Designer


We have built 150+ leading products. Tell us your idea, together we can shape up a great product out of it!

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