The importance of emotional design

Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.

Steve Jobbs


Design is about beauty. About technique and philosophy. But also about the human itself.


Today’s products are extremely complex due to the fast development of technology. Therefore usability and fast task completion are the objectives most product manufacturers and designers follow.
But there are some products which seem to be more than user-friendly and fast. And those products seem to be also the ones which are preferred by the customers! These products often become the must-have of the season.


Why is that?


Let’s look at an apple product for example. It is not only it’s professional technology or the user-friendly handling and it’s nice outer appearance, what makes consumers wanting to buy apple products.
It is much more than that. Apple was able to establish and maintain an image of perfection by implementing creative marketing strategies and by considering something new that connected the consumers tightly to their products:
What Steve Jobbs and many product designers recognized, was the importance of the so called “emotional design”.


What is emotional design?


Jeff Werness ,senior interaction designer at Acquity Group, explains  in his video Beyond Usability: Designing for Emotional Engagement

we as human beings tend to place human characteristics on the things we buy.

Accoring to him, emotional design is what makes people WANT  to have a product, as it goes beyond functionality ,technical details, and usability. Emotional design further makes a product being special and more connected to us if we find the product being aesthetically attractive. Sometimes, if the user sees an appealing object, he even tends to  feel an emotional connection to it.  And because people’s demand for emotionally designed products is increasing; Designing for Humans is predicted  to be one technology trend for 2013.

Gannon Burgett predicts in his blog  13 Design  Trends For 2013 that next to Larger Fonts, Flatter Screens and Wider Websites, Designing for Humans will become increasingly important as

It’s well known that people value good design, but in that regard, most of the items that hold such value also have the touch of humanism that enables them to connect with the design, product, etc. on a deeper level.

As we have to deal with technology in everyday life, it is crucial that designers realize how great their impact on our lives actually is. Because they are able to change the way we use our devices.

From emotional design to “nudging”

Sille Krukow, avisual designer, educated from the Danish Design School, claims that through her designs for web-site layouts and information campaigns, not only the way people use devices, but even the people`s behavir can be changed!
In her blog Designing for humans she outlines how to change people’s behaviour through nudging.  With her design she can move people:

To me, the crucial difference between design in general and designs that are behavioral changing ie. nudging,  is to  create the right design and not just a design. Behavioral design is the creation of an object or a context with that one feature that ensures the wanted change in behavior.

Changes in behavior only can be made after analyzing the human behavior itself and later adapting it to the process of design. Design then makes people being aware of their actions, their behaviors and problems and by doing so design further can bring them to change their behavior.

What Steve Jobbs, Jeff Werness, Gannon Burgett and Sille Kurkow all found out is that technology became a crucial impact to our society and that technology has to be made more userfriendly human and emotional  in order for us to learn how to use it properly.

Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.

Donald A.Norman, The Design of Everyday Things