Design Book Club: Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter

Every month the design team tries to read a new book relating to our field in some way. This month we tackled Aarron Walter’s Designing for Emotion, which has a special place in my heart.

Aarron’s book is particularly meaningful as we share a common thread — a goofy, adorable mascot helping aide users through ourproduct. While MailChimp has been around for a lot longer than TrackMaven, Aarron provides some great insight into things that we are already doing here at TrackMaven, and also things which we can do better at in the future.

One thing we are definitely doing right, is being honest about our company culture and in turn allowing our brand to resonate through internal ideals. If there isn’t a culture of design first, a culture of always-learning, of reaching for the best, and being friendly, we wouldn’t portray that to our customers. All three of us, Wade, Blake and myself come from agencies that say one thing on the outside, but act a different way internally. It’s not sustainable, and your customers will eventually see that — whether through immediate interactions with you, or through a lack of caring and attention to detail in your product or services.

We’ve attempted to add customer testimonials in the past, having designed for them, and we have a slew of them, but we only use them sparingly. This is something that in our next iteration will definitely take center stage. Not only are our customers the backbone of our company, they are our cheerleaders. They’ll help those that are skeptical to eventually come to the fluffy side and are usually willing to help us out with user research and testimonials.

“The people who don’t understand you will come around as the passion for your brand increases. Certain people just need others’ validation before they can fall in love with a product or service.”

Another benefit more directly related to the design of TrackMaven is the gut reaction you have on seeing the brand. Maven is silly, he’s dopey, and people love it. They laugh, they reach out from the Netherlands to ask for a shirt — even though they don’t have anything to do with marketing analytics! — they want to learn more because they are intrigued by this silly dog.

Our competitive space is full of stiff products, and it’s the perfect opportunity to differentiate ourselves. While some people will be put off by our brand’s personal nature, the people looking for something different are going to clamor to it and become the cheerleaders we want. When they speak of us in a positive way, it will eventually convert those who were skeptical at first. I’m a realist, and I know that isn’t going to work 100% across the board, but it’s a good tactic to keep us fresh and two steps ahead of everyone else.

“…surprise that triggers the right gut reaction bypasses cerebral judgements that might prevent users from clicking, signing up for a service or buying.”

Adding in delight and unexpected details (like our silly puns) can help alleviate the concern of not being able to accomplish a task, or not knowing whether the service is a right fit for you. While we go above and beyond to insure that we allow users to complete tasks, we try to incorporate ways the make sure that gut reaction stays in the positive. When you are in a positive position, problems don’t stress you as much. We should keep it that way.

“But sometimes the secret to better conversion rates is not in the minutiae, but in the big picture.”

A/B testing is something we do a lot of here. (We use Optimizely.) We are an analytics company — so hard numbers are our go to tool. But tweaking a word here and a color there isn’t looking at the overall picture which could be completely inaccurate. As we move forward with TrackMaven design, we’ll be continually focused on selling a complete message that aligns with our users needs.

In general, the design team loved this book, and we highly recommend it — especially since it’s such a short read! We’ll be back next month with a wrap up of our next Design Team Book Club book!

Originally published at