What is it that makes us advocates of the products we love? Why are we loyal to a few bunch of apps and websites? When I connected the dots, I realised that all the things I love in my life have one thing in common – emotional attachment.
What is emotional design?
Emotional design is a technique of infusing the elements of emotion into product design. It aims to evoke positive emotions and engagement with consumers.
But before we dive deep into this, we need to understand where emotional design sits in the ecosystem.
One thing I learnt from my experience was – a product needs to be useful first, then usable and finally delightful. The elements of emotional design sit in the delightful phase of product design. There is no point trying to make an emotional connection when the product doesn’t solve any problem or lacks basic functionality. A beautiful curved teapot will have no value, if its lid fell-off while pouring tea.
The elements of emotional design
We generally focus on larger and more obvious things while designing, like functions, colours, navigation, images etc. But what makes a difference – are the small things, the finer details that trigger an emotional response. Let’s look at how it works. Emotional design can be achieved by using the following techniques:
Humour is the best medicine. Everyone likes a laugh. Carefully using humour to convey a message is the easiest way of communication.
Another emotional strategy is personalisation. I love when something responds to me without my having to disclose personal information. I love it when I can relate products to real-life things.
A very important part of communication I find is – Intonation. Using an appropriate tone of voice can make your messaging far more positive and engaging.
Passion is essential. It shows your spirit, respect and love for what you do. And there is no better way of expressing it like what UCB and Nike does.
Surprise and anticipation
This is nothing new. We, humans are wired to like surprises. We wait eagerly for new things, just as hundreds of people waited outside Apple stores for the new iPhone.
Google has been doing this for a while now. I love it when I find hidden things. It gives me joy to see something totally unexpected.
Telling a story
Storytelling is older than my grandma and we all know it works. It grips attention and keeps you engaged.
Making the experience fun
A bit of fun is always exciting. It soothes your mind and lets you enjoy freely.
Using reward system
Another great emotional element is – reward. Rewards make us feel proud and happy for our achievements. Numerous brands use reward-system as an incentive to promote their presence.
Whether we realise or not, emotion plays a very important role in our daily lives. We make many decisions based on our emotions and are wired to search for patterns from our past experiences.
How is that? When we recognise familiar patterns around us, our brain produces a pleasure-inducing neurochemical – Dopamine. When we act on these patterns successfully, we get an extra boost of this pleasing chemical, making us feel happy about what we did. And over time, this ‘happy’ feeling registers a pattern in our sub-conscious mind and help us in deciding what’s good and what’s not.