Loading Imaginea Design Labs

3rd January, 2018  

Craft it with Emotions!

By swarat.g@imaginea.com


From the beginning of humanity, humans have innervations, feelings and emotions. We have seen over the years that some of the best creative applications, websites and experiences have been designed keeping in mind the emotions /feelings factor in mind. It’s just not about simply completing a task but along the way they are enticing a response. Likes of “that’s cool” and “wow” from the user.

When Artist’s or Photographer’s  craft their work they want to evoke some kind of emotions/feelings to their audiences such as happiness, sorrow, empathy etc. Its Integral part of their visual aesthetics sensibilities, feelings and process.

Vincent van Gogh and Raghu Rai 

Hence, Design Feelings/Emotions calls for a return to what is instinctive and intuitive. It’s kind of a revolution that puts humanity back into design. It is about feeling problems out, not analyzing them. Design feelings are grounded in spontaneity, desire, passion, feeling, and Imagination. The design is not a process. It’s an art.

A couple of  ways to building emotions:

a) Building emotion on product from cognitive level
b) Building emotion through personality

Emotion Design: From cognitive level
Donald A Norman is deservedly considered to be one of the greats of usability design. He is founder of the Nielsen Norman Group and he is also a former professor of Cognitive Science in his book  “Emotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things” identifies three levels of visual design that can be used to build emotions on products to explain how we normally perceive to a visual element and how to innovate something that is more appealing, effective and meaningful.

Visceral Level
Visceral refers to the “gut” in this instance. It’s a reference to the concept of “gut instinct”. It’s a subconscious level of reaction to certain experiences. The visceral level deals with the initial impact of looks, touch and feel. Normally, a  good visceral design leaves you with a great feeling about the product and want to interact more with the design again in future.

Wavemaker 8.0 & Wavemaker 9.0

Behavioral level 

How does the product feel when we use it? Do we still like the way it looks? How easy is the product in terms of use? Do we feel like sharing the product with our friends and family? The meat and potatoes of our experience with something come from the time when we put it to use. In a nutshell, BL relates to the functional, performance and physical feel of the product that fulfils user’s actual need.

Reflective level

There was a time when I used to play Super Mario. It’s a game that stays with me long after I put it down.But even now after all these years when I see my 7 years old son is playing I still feel the same association, familiarity and fondness for the game. There’s an experience beyond the initial experience of using a product.If we walk through the whole process of coming across and using a product in hindsight; does it change anything about the way we feel or think we feel about it?

If we want our designs to have lasting value for our users. The reflective design is the key

Building emotion through personality
When we build a product, we are putting a part of ourselves out there and users on the end want to feel this. Users relate to personalities and almost every product can be imparted to one. Sometimes, we establish a specific personality type to confirm an audience’s belief about a product. Or, we add more depth to the relationship by introducing an unpredicted aspect of the product’s persona.

Coca-Cola the longstanding winner of the cola wars, has always presented itself as positive and friendly. Pepsi, similarly, has adopted a more dynamic persona, as it sought to play catch up. Whether you measure by sales. Coke controls 42% of the total carbonated soft drink market, compared with Pepsi’s 30%, according to Beverage Digest or Facebook fans (106 million vs 37 million), we’ll leave it to the user to decide which has proven the better track record.

Below we list out few examples of ways of building a personality on a product:

Tone of the voice
“You look nice today”.  That’s how Slack greets you when first time user opens the app.
That’s  how we experience today’s product: from serious, bland in the decade ago to know where the product creates a bond immediately.

Faces for your product
It’s kind of a best practice to introduce a product with a personality. The personality can be dependable (Slackbot of Slack), humorous (Monkey of MailChimp).

Imagery and Color
Entice your first-time users with warm, captivating imagery and colour palette which conveys certain emotions and stories which helps finally in building visitor retention

Attention to detail
From the very beginning of the project outright importance need to be given to functionality part and an eye for details. Pay attention to details as much as possible.

Successful use of humour is very much required and part of establishing an emotional bond with the users and reminding them that it’s just not bots or robots but there are real humans behind the design!

As explained by Aaron Walter, UX Design Lead at MailChimp, creating a pleasurable experience is at the top of the web usability hierarchy of needs.Online services such as MailChimp have set themselves apart from competitors through humorous, friendly, and easy-to-understand copy, branding, and interaction on their site.

Building emotional engagement in Web design

According to Psychology, most people purchase according to how they feel about a product ( their emotional attachment) rather than any logic. Managing an emotional relationship with your customers is really important – and retention of that customer base is equally important. If your website isn’t coped with your audience emotions, you could start losing your business easily.

Plutchik’s emotional Wheel
In 1980, Robert Plutchik, Psychologist created what is now known as “Plutchik’s wheel of emotions”

to describe how emotions are related. There are 8 primary bipolar emotions: joy vs sadness; anger versus fear; trust vs disgust; and surprise versus anticipation.However, these emotions can be also expressed at variant intensities.

3 emotions to nurture


Anticipation – enticing imagery, simple navigation and easy to understand copy all help motivate visitors to become customers.

Trust – Create trust through brand name endorsements, referrals trusted reviews and third-party certifications.

Joy – Keep customers happy by offering valuable free content, positive and evocative imagery and well-planned offers


Emotions evoke experiences and experiences drive growth. It should be clear to us now that designing product to connect emotionally with user builds experiences and drives engagement, growth and revenue. If we want to create something memorable, inspiring, and meaningful tapping into emotion provokes a powerful response and can lift even the simplest of experiences into something people love to use. In fact, in the book “Emotional Design”, Norman argues that emotional side of product design is more critical to product success than it’s practical elements.

About swarat.g@imaginea.com :

Leave a Reply

Share via