November 2, 2009

Emotional Design

Today, a colleague of mine, Christopher at ?WhatIf! asked me to check out five by fifty, an Asian consumer intelligence firm... On their site was a trend about how the recent health scare over the H1N1 virus is creating a new fad of “Pandemic Chic.” It got me thinking again about emotional design.

Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald
Recently, I have been thinking about how people engage with the objects they own. When I think of user experience, the phrase seems too broad for me to get excited. Define the entire user experience for these masks...right... Now, think emotional engagement. Well? What is the emotional engagement? Anyone can describe in detail the emotional engagement for each mask. Reverse the process and as a designer, how can you emotionally engage users with your mask (product, service, website, etc.)?

I have been mulling this over ever since listening to my friend, CJ Chou gave his doctoral dissertation defense at the Institute of Design. USER ENGAGEMENT: Providing Users Additional Interaction and Meaning with Products was presented to the Institute of Design on March 26, 2009. At the time, it struck me how simple it was to create new meaning out of the user experience when designers try to emotionally engage users.

CJ’s simple example...How can we get people to fill up the water dispenser after they pour themselves a glass of water? You know, the filtered water container that sits in your office’s refrigerator. How many times do you find it almost empty? How often do you forget to fill it? are not emotionally engaged...

...what if there was a fish in the container? Would you make sure it was filled with water? Yes! Now, a live fish is not so clean, but a plastic fish! You bet! That would engage users on an emotional level and you will never find an empty water container in the fridge...

Emotional engagement is an integral part of any experience. Otherwise, your product will have to compete as a commodity.

I would say emotional engagement is integral to anything you do...


Blogger annamatic said...

Nice post, Doug. Made me think of the piano stairs and other "fun theory" videos by volkswagen.

November 08, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes! Fun works the same site BTW!

November 13, 2009  

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