Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Reading List | No Comments

Emotional Design

The most recent book I’ve read was Donald A. Norman’s Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. Norman provides “evidence that aesthetically pleasing objects enable you to work better”.

When designing products, utility, usability, function and form are important considerations. In addition, all products contain visceral, behavioral, and reflective design components. These influence the emotions we “feel” towards products — whether we end up “loving” or “hating” them.

Visceral design is the aesthetics or “how something looks”. Often this is what first attracts someone to a product. Reactions can range from “wow”, “cool”, “beautiful” or even a negative “ugly”.

Behavioral design involves the “pleasure and effectiveness” felt when using the product. Was it an enjoyable experience or something didn’t work as we expected?

Reflective design involve the usability or “rationalization and intellectualization of a product”. Does this inspire a story we can relate about our experience with this product? What memories does this product evoke?

The last part of the book, Norman covers the potential need for robots to have emotions. It was interesting topic and features Issac Asimov’s “Four Laws of Robots”. These fictional laws govern the interaction between humans and robots. Ironically, these laws influence the development of our current robots and other machines.

Everyday, our interactions with technology grows. We depend upon computers, phones, apps, etc. Since the time this book was written (2004), our devices have started to “interact” with us. Think about iPhones with Siri, Google’s Echo and other devices designed to assist us. In the future, designing devices to “detect our moods” or emotions will improve the product’s success.

You can learn more about the author and his book at the Nielson Norman Group website, jnd.org.

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