Emotional Engagement in Design

Designing for Emotion chapter 4 covers the topic of emotional engagement. This is when the designer evokes emotion in the user in order to keep their attention, and keep them as a returning user. The book uses the example of surprise. It talks about how when you hear your favorite song on the radio it is much more enjoyable than if you play the song yourself. That is because the element of surprise amplifies our emotional response, thus making our experience better. It’s this idea of emotional amplification that the chapter discusses as a way to engage your audience.

I found this chapter very intriguing, and am glad that the book continues to explore different aspects of emotional design. My favorite examples used for this chapter was once again MailChimp. The chapter describes how the MailChimp mascot was made to be a fun extra for users. He was not meant to explain when there was an error with the site, or tell you how to operate the site. His main purpose was to add a human element to MailChimp by making jokes or complementing the user. This design aspect had an emotional impact on the users, which in return made them loyal.

This chapter was really just a big “ahh haa” moment for me because it explained the way we think about design and what appeals to us as humans the most. It made me reflect on what designs I like the most and why. I realized I do use sites that have a more human element to them, or even an element of surprise that makes me invested. Overall, I agree with the chapter that if we are emotionally engaged in the site, we will enjoy are experience more and become loyal users.

Originally posted at OU Public Relations Publications