See also: user experience
Affective computing is computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotions. This site provides information on research activities in affective computing at the MIT Media Lab, where research focuses on creating personal computational systems endowed with the ability to sense, recognise and understand human emotions, together with the skills to respond in an intelligent, sensitive, and respectful manner toward the user and his/her emotions.
Design and emotion
Let's take a quick look at a few different design contexts and research that supports emotional design as we begin to understand how emotion is an essential design requirement.
Designing for fun. Can we design user interfaces to be more fun? (PDF)
I believe designers must address three almost equally important goals that contribute to fun-in-doing: (1) provide the right functions so that users can accomplish their goals, (2) offer usability plus reliability to prevent frustration from undermining the fun and (3) engage users with fun-features.
"We know how to make products that are easy to use and understand. But what about emotions? What about designs that delight? What do we know about how to produce an emotional impact?"
Emotion and design: attractive things work better
Advances in our understanding of emotion and affect have implications for the science of design. Affect changes the operating parameters of cognition: positive affect enhances creative, breadth-first thinking whereas negative affect focuses cognition, enhancing depth-first processing and minimizing distractions. Therefore, it is essential that products designed for use under stress follow good human-centered design, for stress makes people less able to cope with difficulties and less flexible in their approach to problem solving. Positive affect makes people more tolerant of minor difficulties and more flexible and creative in finding solutions. Products designed for more relaxed, pleasant occasions can enhance their usability through pleasant, aesthetic design. Aesthetics matter: attractive things work better.
Emotional design: people and things
In my book Emotional Design, I proposed a framework for analysing products in a holistic way to include their attractiveness, their behaviour, and the image they present to the user--and of the owner. In this work on design, these different aspects of a product were identified with different levels of processing by people: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. These three levels translate into three different kinds of design. Visceral design refers primarily to that initial impact, to its appearance. Behavioral design is about look and feel--the total experience of using a product. And reflection is about ones thoughts afterwards, how it makes one feel, the image it portrays, the message it tells others about the owner's taste.
Emotion and product design (PDF)
A conference presentation on emotion and design - the implications for the design of computer systems, robots and products, by Donald Norman.
Emotion and the sense of presence in HCI design
"Emotion is becoming accepted as an important ingredient of successful humancomputer interaction (HCI) design. It has always been important in design, but as a discipline rooted in the methods and mindset of the cognitive psychology of the 70s and 80s, HCI has been slow to accept that affect (as exhibited in feelings of happiness or anxiety) is an essential component of reasoning about the world, not an opposing force. Although we may loosely speak of emotion versus reason, both too much and too little emotion will have a negative impact on cognition, with the latter being the more pathological."
(John Waterworth - uiGarden.net)
From satisfaction to delight
At this point in experience design's evolution, satisfaction ought to be the norm, and delight ought to be the goal. As design professionals, how do we create opportunities for customer delight?
The role of emotion in human-computer interaction
Position papers from participants in the workshop on 'The Role of Emotion in Human-Computer Interaction' held on 6 September 2005 at the 19th British HCI Group Annual Conference.
Where emotional design fails
Long-ago I touted the virtues of a human-centered design, one that takes real needs of people into account. Yes, people have emotional needs, and aesthetic pleasure is a good thing. But let's take another look at how these new devices add to our aesthetic pleasure: they fail miserably. They are art-centered, prize-centered, object-centered. The one thing they are not is human-centered.
Why machines should fear
Once a curmudgeonly champion of usable design, cognitive scientist Donald A. Norman argues that future machines will need emotions to be truly dependable.
- Emotion and affect
Don Norman on the value of beauty, fun and pleasure in design.