The secret of usable design

design дек. 13, 2019

Improving usability through Emotional, reflective and visceral design

The design profoundly based on human emotions and how humans interact with the application. Designers are moving progressively with the design concepts, UX principles and psychology to discover new dimensions in design. The designs I see nowadays are full of enthusiastic designers who loves to create a minimalistic design focus on all the areas except the usability of the design. Usability is a key aspect to create designs with meaning. Creating a delightful experience is not an easy process. Improving the usability of products and services can be helped through emotional, reflective and visceral design. I have been looking into how we can use these design techniques, and I love to share what I have found with you.

Understanding Emotional design

Emotional design helps to create the intended emotions by the focus group when interacting with the application. The design should always evoke positive emotions towards the user. It helps to improve the connection between the users and the application. The positive emotions can help the user's perception towards the application.

Emotions play a vital role in the ability of how humans understand and look at the world. Positive emotions create curiosity and make us engage with the things that we are doing. Negative emotions protect humans from making the same mistakes again. Humans love to engage in positive emotions rather than negative emotions.

A delightful experience is created through powerful emotions though making the application usable. Delight is achieved though Visceral, behavioral and reflective design. These three pillars will create better usability in the application to make a better user experience.

How do people start falling in love with the applications?

Applications are produced for humans to use in their day-to-day activities. The applications have specific characteristics that formulate emotions from the user. Before people can love an experience, they must first desire that experience. The aesthetic aspect of the application design act as a manipulation factor to make users engage with it. After the initial interaction, people must be able to use the product and derive some expected value. If that value is exceptional, then they will begin to trust the product and feel compelled to use it. Finally, people will love the product and tell others about it if the experience evokes positive behavioral, visceral, and reflective emotional reactions.

Cultivating love in applications

What is Visceral emotional design?

It appeals to our first reactions when we encounter a product. It mainly deals with aesthetics and the perceived quality from a mere look and feel, and the engagement of the senses. A visceral reaction is triggered by an initial sensory experience. It is that first impression that sets the mood and initial framing for which you’ll explore everything else.

Some unique ways that products evoke visceral reactions are through playful and delightful onboarding and success states -typically carefully woven together with motion design.

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Benefits of Visceral Emotional Design

  1. Visceral emotional design set a positive context for every subsequent interaction.
  2. Users are more likely to forgive faults down the line if the initial experience was overwhelmingly positive.
  3. “Love at first sight” will encourage positive socialization of the product.

Some unique ways that products evoke visceral reactions are through playful and delightful onboarding and success states -typically carefully woven together with motion design.

What is Behavioral emotional design?

Behavioral emotional design refers to the usability of the product, our assessment of how well it performs the desired functions, and how easily we can learn how to use it. A behavioral reaction is how we feel as we are immersed in the product experience. It is how we react to our product interactions and derive value from the products we use.

Behavioral design includes

  • Usability
  • Product function
  • Performance
  • Effectiveness of use.

From an emotional perspective, when our interaction behaviors are

  • Fluid
  • Expected
  • Familiar

then we derive joy and satisfaction from the product’s usability.

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Benefits of behavioral Emotional design

  • It allows users to feel a sense of empowerment.
  • It cultivates trust and reliability by creating a direct correlation between a user’s actions and expected value.
  • It encourages repeat reactions, as people are more inclined to want to experience that delight again.

Reflective Emotional Design

On the reflective level, we interpret and understand things, we reason about the world, and we reflect on ourselves. The reflective level sets in after having been exercised, and it dominates the other two levels, which means that through extensive reasoning, we can overrule both automated behavior and emotional impact.

  • A reflective reaction is how we feel after we have been immersed in the experience.
  • It is how we remember the experience itself and how it made us feel.
  • It determines whether we want to try that experience again or shun it altogether.

The reflective design has the following key attributes

Appealing — Grab the user’s attention and influence their perception.

Effective — Guide the user’s attention and make sure they find what they are looking for.

Pleasurable — Allow the user to appreciate your website and have fun.

Memorable — Build a relationship with the user and ensure a positive memory of you.

Visual design is much more powerful when it encompasses all three levels of design in a single product.

benefits of reflective design

  • It encourages users to share their experiences with others.
  • It evokes a sense of pride and identity from using a product that extends beyond the product itself.

Understanding basic emotions

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Robert Plutchik devised the psycho-evolutionary theory of emotion and this helps categorize emotions into primary emotions and the responses to them. He argued that the primary emotions are an evolutionary development and that the response to each such emotion is the one that is likely to deliver the highest level of survival possibility.

8 Basic emotions of humans

  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Anticipation
  • Joy
  • Surprise
  • Trust
Image resource — Author/Copyright holder: xdxd_vs_xdxd. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

The basic emotional pairs are as follows

  • Joy and Sadness
  • Trust and Disgust
  • Fear and Anger
  • Surprise and Anticipation

10 points regarding emotions

  • Emotions are found at all evolutionary levels of species. They are equally applicable to all animals as they are to human beings.
  • Emotions evolved differently in different species and maybe expressed differently between those species.
  • The purpose of emotions is an evolutionary survival response enabling the organism to survive when confronted by environmental challenges.
  • While emotions can be displayed and evoked through different mechanisms in different organisms there are common elements to emotions that can be identified across all emotional animals.
  • There are 8 basic, primary emotions.
  • Other emotions are simply a combination of these 8 basic emotions or are derived from one (or more) of these basic emotions.
  • Primary emotions are “idealized” and their properties must be inferred from evidence but cannot be accurately stated in full.
  • Each primary emotion is paired with another and is a polar opposite of that pair.
  • Emotions can and do vary in degrees of similarity to each other.
  • Emotions exist in varying degrees of intensity.

Emotions and The Brain

  • Emotions change the way the human brain operates.
  • Negative experiences focus the brain on what’s wrong; they narrow the thought process and make people anxious and tense.
  • We don’t feel free and “in the flow.” We feel restricted and frustrated.

Emotional design elements

  • Emotion-Memory Link — emotionally charged events persist in our memories beyond the product’s base functional value. We remember things that make us feel a certain way.
  • Aesthetic-Usability Effect — aesthetically pleasing experiences empower usability and increase the user’s willingness to learn and adapt.
  • Persuasive Emotion (Gut Feeling) — emotions enable users to make gut and swift decisions. We use cognition to understand and interpret our world, but our emotions catalyze decision-making.
  • Ownership Effect — users place more value in experiences where they feel a sense of personalized ownership as if the experience/product is an extension of themselves.

Tips for Augmenting Emotional Impact

  • Personalization and Customization — Personalize the user experience so your users feel a sense of ownership. Allow users to tailor the experience as an extension and manifestation of themselves.
  • Expressive Imagery — Use images, illustrations, and animations that your users can relate to — the visuals, themselves, can demonstrate emotion and help your users empathize.
  • Positive Surprise — Evoke positive emotional reactions by surprising your users with delight.
  • Relatable Voice — Use a tone and voice that speaks with your users more humanly. Express emotion, empathy, and encouragement through conversational UI.
  • Humour — Laughing and glee are very strong positive emotions that alleviate fear and uncertainty while evoking a sense of joy.
  • Storytelling — Helps people understand the journey of the experience, frame their interactions, and recall their experiences even after using the product.
  • Microinteractions — Subtle affordances and indicators make interfaces feel more alive and fun, which encourages interaction.

muditha batagoda