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When UX Design Meets Emotional Intelligence

Some of you might be wondering what’s “emotion” got to do with UX Design or you might think the title is a little sweet for this topic, but it certainly holds water.

Emotion is one of the vital considerations when creating or designing a project. Don’t bother asking why. We are designing for human beings, and we all have emotions. These emotions ignite or dictate our decisions on what we do every single day.

Let me give you a simple example, take a peek at this video made by a Thai Insurance Company.

As you may have observed, the ad connects to the viewer by catching the viewer’s emotion. And as a result of this emotion, we would click like or dislike, and share the video through social media, which made it viral and a success. Effective marketing strategy, eh?

Emotion plays a great deal with our actions. Here are some situations I know you’re familiar with: You hear a good music, it gives you goose bumps; you bought it on iTunes and added it to your playlist. You saw a new gadget you thought would look cool on you; you bought one even if it was expensive. You’re in a party and in a state of euphoria; you decided to do some crazy tricks and brought you shame. You’re playing with your smartphone when suddenly it shuts down coz the batt is empty; frustrated, you threw it away but regretted doing so. See how emotions drive our actions? It is a war chest. Creepy and scary, sometimes.

UX Design Is An Avalanche of Emotions

Keep in mind that we are designing for humans; we are designing for the overall experience and to be able to connect with the users. We should consider who are our target users are and how they are going to feel and react using the product. Whitney Hess, a UX Coach, stated on one of her talks that UX is the never-ending process of seeing the world from the customers’ perspectives and working to improve the quality of their lives. We have to understand that we are not designing for ourselves but for our users.

Our applications and/or websites don’t have to be overly decorated or complicated to attract more users. Just because something looks beautiful in our perspective, it doesn’t mean it is already usable for the users. Sometimes, a very simple design wins the heart of the users because of its usability. Like Google’s search engine for example, who would have known that a simple text box with 2 buttons would be that big. Google knows how to play hardball over moolah, right?

jobs-quote
Photo courtesy of Piccsy via Pinterest

By studying or observing our users’ behavioral patterns, we will have a deep understanding of their actions or what their actions are going to be. This is where AB testing and heat mapping comes into use.

Integrating Emotional Intelligence to UX Design

According to the book Emotional Design Elements by Smashing Magazine, these psychological factors can induce positive emotions:

  • Positivity
  • Surprise
  • Uniqueness
  • Attention
  • Attraction
  • Anticipation
  • Exclusivity
  • Responsiveness

By considering these factors, we will have a great chance to get the desired emotional response from our users. But of course, we can’t always get a positive response since we all differ in personality and attitude.

One technique we can use is to add User Interaction unto our web or mobile apps. By doing so, we are giving our apps the soul it needs or what we sometimes call the personality, making it more engaging to the users. These interactions can come from any form or element. It could be the message of the content, the graphics or images used, an output action or a simple animation.

Being Creatively Lost and Clever

If the data the user is looking for cannot be found, instead of just displaying an error message that can make the user more frustrated, we can also show some recommendations or be creative with the message by making it more fun in a way.

Mailchimp
Photo courtesy of Smashing Magazine

Simplified Tutor

Another example is providing walkthroughs for first time users of the app; it makes it more convenient for users. It’s as if someone is actually teaching them where to start and what to do next.

Bottlenose
Photo courtesy of Smashing Magazine

Interact and Impress

When competing for attention, you cannot stand behind anyone. You should be standing above them. The key? Interact and impress. Here are some examples of how you can apply human interactions when developing your mobile application:

Mobile Menu
Photo courtesy of Behance
Mobile Interaction
Photo courtesy of Behance

These animated transitions make it more fun and engaging for the users. It makes them curious what your mobile application can do next as an output when they do something. Gamifying your app makes it an enjoyable experience users cannot forget.

Don’t Emote Like Weird Kinks

Another technique we can use is by mimicking human emotions. The simplest act of adding a human element is enough to get your audience’s sentiment. How would you feel seeing an image of a poor boy begging at a website’s header? And how would you feel seeing an image of a hot model smiling? Got my point? You should, by now.

Anova Health Institute
Photo courtesy of Awwwards

Classic Taste and Habitue Style

Going minimalist is also a technique some designers use. This technique, however, is more straight to the point or sophisticated in a way. It’s tricky how designers juggle a combination of flat color palettes, large images, and typography to convey the message. But it doesn’t mean that because it’s clean and simple, it’s already missing the “Wow!” factor. You’ll be surprised what a minimal design can do, once you get to know it. It plays around with transition, parallax scrolling, and hover effects. Check this site for example, you’ll find out what a minimal site can do.

Hero
Photo courtesy of Awwwards

These are just few of the techniques that we can use to improve our design. Remember that the goal here is to convince users that your app or site is worth using or buying. But the real challenge after that layer is user retention. How you keep them coming back to your site or how to keep them satisfied using your app. The design trend is always changing, that means we also need to upgrade and iterate our designs from time to time to cope up with the users’ needs. That’s why they say design is a never-ending process.

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