Designing for Emotion

by Aaron Walter

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: May 01, 2024
Designing for Emotion
Designing for Emotion

Discover how to design for emotion and build brand loyalty with this insightful book summary. Learn the power of design personas, emotional design, and human-centric principles. Unlock the secrets to engaging users and managing risk through progressive enhancement.

What are the big ideas?

Design Personas Shape Brand Identity

Design personas are detailed documents that encapsulate the personality and voice of a brand. They guide the consistency of a brand's presentation across visuals and content, making the brand relatable and distinctive.

Emotional Design Builds Forgiveness and Loyalty

Emotional design leverages the brand's personality to forge a strong connection with users, leading them to overlook flaws and become loyal advocates of the brand.

Priming Influences User Engagement

By using initial stimuli to set expectations, designers can subtly guide users' subsequent reactions and behaviors. Techniques like anticipation and variable rewards keep users engaged and eager for what's next.

Human-Centric Design Through Baby-Face Bias

Designers exploit evolutionary traits such as the baby-face bias, where features like large eyes and small noses are perceived as trustworthy, to create endearing and effective designs.

Emotional Design as Risk Management

By appealing to emotions, designers can manage and mitigate risks, turning potential negative experiences into positive ones, as evidenced by Flickr’s creative handling of a service outage.

Progressive Enhancement in Emotional Design

Progressive enhancement allows for the layering of emotional design features on top of a solid functional base, providing an enriched experience for users without compromising on basic usability.

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Design Personas Shape Brand Identity

Design personas are powerful tools that shape a brand's identity. These detailed documents define the personality and voice of a brand, ensuring consistent presentation across visuals, content, and interactions. By embodying the brand's unique traits, design personas make the brand relatable and distinctive to its audience.

The design persona acts as a blueprint, guiding the web team to construct a unified and cohesive brand experience. It describes how to channel the brand's personality through visual design, copywriting, and user interactions. This helps the brand connect emotionally with its target audience and stand out from competitors.

Crafting a compelling design persona involves several key elements. These include defining the brand's core traits, mapping its personality on a dominance-friendliness spectrum, and specifying the brand's unique voice and communication style. Providing sample copy and a visual lexicon further reinforces the brand's identity. The end result is a clear personality portrait that the entire team can reference to maintain brand consistency.

By establishing a strong, well-defined design persona, brands can forge meaningful connections with their audience and differentiate themselves in the market. This strategic approach to brand identity is a powerful tool for creating memorable, emotionally engaging experiences.

Here are examples from the context that support the key insight that design personas shape brand identity:

  • MailChimp's Design Persona: The context describes how MailChimp created a detailed design persona around their mascot Freddie Von Chimpenheimer IV. This persona defines MailChimp's brand personality as "Fun, but not childish. Funny, but not goofy. Powerful, but not complicated. Hip, but not alienating. Easy, but not simplistic. Trustworthy, but not stodgy. Informal, but not sloppy." This persona guides MailChimp's visual design, copy, and interactions to create a consistent, relatable brand identity.

  • Volkswagen Beetle's Anthropomorphized Design: The context explains how the Volkswagen Beetle's rounded, smiling "face" design gave the car a distinctly human personality that helped it connect with generations of drivers. This personality-driven design was a key factor in making the Beetle one of the best-selling car designs in history.

  • Apple's "Get a Mac" Ad Campaign: The context describes how Apple's "Get a Mac" ads personified the Mac and PC computers as distinct characters with contrasting personalities - the cool, capable "Mac guy" versus the awkward, bumbling "PC guy." This persona-driven campaign helped shape perceptions of the Apple brand identity.

The key takeaway is that well-crafted design personas, like those used by MailChimp, Volkswagen, and Apple, can imbue a brand with a distinctive personality that makes it more relatable and memorable to the target audience. The persona acts as a blueprint to ensure consistency in how the brand is visually and verbally expressed across all touchpoints.

Emotional Design Builds Forgiveness and Loyalty

Emotional design builds forgiveness and loyalty from users. By crafting a distinct brand personality, companies can create a strong emotional connection that transcends functional flaws. When users feel a personal bond with a brand, they are more likely to overlook minor issues and remain devoted customers.

The key is to design for emotion, not just usability. Emotional design goes beyond the practical - it taps into universal human psychology to make users feel understood and valued. This fosters a sense of trust and goodwill that can protect a brand from the occasional misstep.

Carefully considered emotional design is a strategic investment. It not only attracts new customers, but also retains existing ones through thick and thin. By designing with personality, companies can create a loyal following that sticks with the brand even when problems arise. This emotional investment pays dividends in the long run.

Here are examples from the context that support the key insight that emotional design builds forgiveness and loyalty:

  • The CoffeeCup Software Easter egg hunt on their website tripled traffic in the first 3 days and increased average page views per visitor from 5 to 30, as people spent hours searching for the hidden eggs. This shows how an emotionally engaging experience can drive increased engagement and loyalty.

  • When a customer in Portland learned of a Betabrand sale 10 days after buying a pair of pants, he could have complained. Instead, Betabrand's founder proposed a friendly wager, which the customer won. This turned the customer into "one of our greatest, most loyal customers" and even an investor in the company. The emotional, playful interaction built forgiveness and loyalty.

  • The context states that "when we make inevitable mistakes, they'll be more likely to forgive us because our earnestness is visible." Emotional design that conveys a brand's sincerity and humanity can lead customers to be more forgiving when issues arise.

  • The passage notes that "they love us for our sincerity, they trust us because they see themselves in our brand, and when we make inevitable mistakes, they'll be more likely to forgive us because our earnestness is visible." Emotional design that resonates with customers on a personal level can foster trust and forgiveness.

Priming Influences User Engagement

Priming is a powerful psychological technique that designers can leverage to shape user engagement. By exposing users to an initial stimulus, designers can prime their perceptions and guide their subsequent reactions and behaviors.

For example, building anticipation through teasers or limited access can prime users to feel excited and special when they finally gain access to a new product or feature. Similarly, incorporating variable rewards - where the outcome is uncertain but potentially valuable - can keep users engaged and eager to see what happens next.

By thoughtfully applying priming techniques, designers can create positive, memorable experiences that foster deeper user engagement and loyalty. The key is to use priming strategically, without being manipulative, to enhance the overall user experience.

Here are examples from the context that support the key insight about how priming influences user engagement:

  • Twitter's Redesign: Twitter built anticipation and suspense for their redesign by releasing a partial screenshot on Dribbble, which primed a successful launch. Limiting early access to the redesign also made invitees feel special, priming their perception of the new interface.

  • MailChimp's Freddie the Chimp: MailChimp accidentally discovered the power of priming when they added a talking chimp mascot, Freddie, to their app. Freddie's random, witty greetings primed users to perceive the app as fun, usable, and trustworthy. This positive priming led to users interacting with the support team in a more lighthearted, joking manner.

  • Photojojo's Animated Shopping Cart: Photojojo used surprise and delight to prime their users' perceptions. Their shopping cart has a personality that pouts until an item is added, then turns green and smiles in delight. This unexpected interaction pattern primes users to have a positive, memorable experience on the site.

The key terms here are:

  • Priming: The psychological principle where an initial stimulus shapes the response to a subsequent stimulus.
  • Anticipation: Building up excitement and suspense for an upcoming event or experience.
  • Variable Rewards: Providing unpredictable, but pleasurable, rewards to keep users engaged and eager for more.

These priming techniques help designers guide users' emotional responses and keep them engaged with the product or service.

Human-Centric Design Through Baby-Face Bias

Leverage Innate Human Biases for Emotional Design

Humans are hardwired to find certain facial features, like large eyes and small noses, as trustworthy and endearing. This is known as the baby-face bias. Designers can strategically leverage this evolutionary trait to create emotionally compelling designs that resonate with users on a primal level.

By incorporating design elements that mimic the proportions of a baby's face, designers can tap into our innate tendency to find these features cute and lovable. This can help build a strong emotional connection between the user and the product or brand.

Successful examples of this approach include the use of cute mascots and characters by companies like Twitter, StickyBits, Brizzly, and MailChimp. These designs leverage the baby-face bias to foster a sense of warmth, trust, and approachability in the minds of their audience.

Ultimately, understanding and applying human-centric design principles like the baby-face bias can help designers create interfaces and experiences that deeply resonate with users on an emotional level, leading to more engaging and memorable interactions.

Here are examples from the context that support the key insight about using the baby-face bias in human-centric design:

  • Cartoonists have exploited the baby-face bias principle for decades, creating characters with large heads, small bodies, and enlarged eyes that endear them to us. This is exemplified by the design of characters like Mickey Mouse.

  • Designers also use the baby-face bias principle, called the "baby-face bias", to their advantage. Examples given include the cute mascots used by websites like Twitter, StickyBits, Brizzly, and MailChimp.

  • The proportions of a baby's face - large eyes, small nose, pronounced forehead - are a pattern our brains recognize as very special. Faces with these proportions are perceived as "innocent, trustworthy, cute, and lovable." This is because we are "hard wired to love babies" as an evolutionary adaptation.

  • The original reason we evolved to love baby faces is so that we wouldn't kill them. Cuteness is a baby's "first line of defense" against harm.

So in summary, designers leverage our innate tendency to find baby-like facial features endearing and trustworthy, in order to create emotionally engaging and effective designs. This "baby-face bias" is a key principle of human-centric design.

Emotional Design as Risk Management

Emotional design is a powerful tool for risk management. By appealing to the emotions of your audience, you can transform potential negative experiences into positive ones. This is demonstrated by Flickr's creative handling of a service outage.

When things go wrong, a thoughtful, empathetic response can earn your audience's forgiveness and even strengthen their connection to your brand. Rather than trying to hide mistakes, embrace them. Acknowledge the issue, express understanding, and show your audience that you care. This emotional approach can prevent significant losses in customers and revenue.

Emotional design is not without risks. Some people may not respond well to it. But that's okay - an emotional response, even a negative one, is better than indifference. By designing for emotion, you'll connect with the right people for your business, even if you alienate a few. The greater risk lies in blending in with your competitors and failing to stand out.

Here are some examples from the context that support the key insight that emotional design can help manage and mitigate risks:

  • CoffeeCup Software Easter Egg Hunt: When CoffeeCup Software ran an Easter egg hunt on their website, it tripled their site traffic in the first 3 days and increased the average page views per visitor from 5 to 30. This shows how incorporating emotional design elements like a fun, playful activity can engage users and drive positive business outcomes.

  • Emotional Design Helps Attract the "Right" Customers: The context notes that "Not every customer is right for your business. Some will be so high maintenance that they will cost you more than they contribute." By designing with personality and emotion, you can attract customers who are a better fit for your brand, reducing the risk of dealing with difficult, high-maintenance customers.

  • Emotional Design Helps Overcome Skepticism: The context discusses how people are naturally skeptical of new brands and products, and can "smell bullshit a mile away." Incorporating emotional design principles like building trust and confidence can help overcome this skepticism and make customers more receptive to your brand.

  • Flickr's Handling of Service Outage: While not directly mentioned in the context, the context suggests that emotional design can help turn negative experiences into positive ones. The example of Flickr's creative handling of a service outage illustrates this - by appealing to users' emotions through humor and personality, Flickr was able to mitigate the risk of a frustrating service disruption.

The key is that by designing for emotion, rather than just functionality, designers can create more positive, memorable experiences that build loyalty and trust, reducing the risks of customer churn, negative perceptions, and other potential pitfalls. Emotional design is a strategic tool for managing and mitigating various business risks.

Progressive Enhancement in Emotional Design

Progressive Enhancement is a powerful approach for incorporating emotional design into your product or website. It allows you to layer delightful, personality-driven features on top of a solid functional foundation, providing an enriched experience for users without compromising on basic usability.

The key is to establish a baseline experience that meets core user needs, then selectively add emotional design elements that enhance the experience for those who appreciate them, while allowing users who prefer a more straightforward approach to easily opt-out. This ensures your brand's unique personality shines through for those who connect with it, while still accommodating those who may not.

For example, a website could have a "party pooper mode" that turns off playful animations, informal language, and other personality-driven touches for users who find them distracting or inappropriate. This allows the majority of users who enjoy these elements to experience the brand's full emotional design, while giving a minority of users the option to revert to a more utilitarian interface.

The beauty of progressive enhancement is that it enables you to create an emotionally engaging design without alienating users who may not respond positively to those design choices. It's a balanced approach that caters to diverse user preferences while amplifying your brand's unique identity for those who appreciate it.

Here are the key insights and examples from the context that support the idea of progressive enhancement in emotional design:

  • The MailChimp team created a "party pooper mode" in their application that allows users to disable the fun, humorous elements and have a more straight-laced interface. This was a form of progressive enhancement, allowing users who didn't connect with the brand's personality to still use the core functionality.
  • The author notes that even though they were initially opposed to creating the "party pooper mode" on principle, the data showed that only 0.007% of users actually turned it on. This demonstrated that the brand's personality resonated with the vast majority of users, while still accommodating those who preferred a more formal experience.
  • The author suggests that progressive enhancement can be a "worthwhile option" to "mitigate client or boss concerns" about emotional design elements, "quieting those who don't understand your personality" while still delivering an enriched experience for those who do.

Key terms/concepts:

  • Progressive enhancement: Layering emotional design features on top of a solid functional base, to provide an enhanced experience without compromising basic usability.
  • "Party pooper mode": MailChimp's option to disable the fun, humorous elements of their interface for users who didn't connect with that brand personality.

The examples illustrate how progressive enhancement allows designers to deliver an emotionally engaging experience for their target audience, while still accommodating users who may not respond positively to those design choices. It's a way to balance brand personality with broad usability.

Comprehension Questions

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How well do you understand the key insights in "Designing for Emotion"? Find out by answering the questions below. Try to answer the question yourself before revealing the answer! Mark the questions as done once you've answered them.

1. What is the primary purpose of a design persona in branding?
2. How does a design persona contribute to the user experience of a brand?
3. What are some key elements involved in crafting a compelling design persona?
4. What is the strategic value of having a well-defined design persona for a brand?
5. Why is it beneficial for companies to develop a strong emotional connection with their customers?
6. How does emotional design contribute beyond traditional usability in product design?
7. What long-term benefits can companies gain from investing in emotional design strategies?
8. How does creating a brand personality through design influence customer behavior?
9. What is priming in the context of user experience design?
10. How can anticipation be used as a priming technique to enhance user engagement?
11. What are variable rewards and how do they affect user engagement?
12. What is 'baby-face bias' and how does it affect human perception of certain facial features?
13. How can designers use baby-face bias to enhance user experience and emotional engagement in their products?
14. What are some real-world examples of where baby-face bias has been effectively used in design?
15. Why are baby-like features perceived as trustworthy and lovable?
16. How can addressing emotions in a product design affect customer experience during a service failure?
17. What are the potential consequences of failing to incorporate emotional design in risk management strategies?
18. What advantage does emotional design provide in terms of customer engagement?
19. Why is it beneficial to attract the right customers through emotional design?
20. How can emotional design impact skepticism towards new brands and products?
21. What is the main benefit of using progressive enhancement in design?
22. How does progressive enhancement cater to different user preferences?
23. What does a 'party pooper mode' enable in a product's design?
24. Why might a company opt to use progressive enhancement when dealing with emotional design?
25. What was the outcome of implementing a 'party pooper mode' in terms of user engagement, based on historical examples?

Action Questions

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"Knowledge without application is useless," Bruce Lee said. Answer the questions below to practice applying the key insights from "Designing for Emotion". Mark the questions as done once you've answered them.

1. How might you develop a design persona to better align your brand or product with its target audience?
2. What aspects of your current brand identity can be enhanced by emphasizing specific personality traits in your design persona?
3. How can you integrate emotional design elements into your product or service to strengthen customer bonds?
4. How can you incorporate elements of anticipation in your next project to enhance user engagement?
5. In what ways can you implement variable rewards in your current or upcoming service to keep users intrigued and active?
6. What are some creative ways you can test the effectiveness of baby-face bias in your marketing materials?
7. How can you incorporate emotional design elements in your product or service to enhance user experience and connection?
8. What strategies can you use to acknowledge and recover from service interruptions or mistakes in a way that strengthens customer loyalty?
9. How can you implement progressive enhancement to balance emotional design with usability in your current product design strategy?

Chapter Notes

Chapter 1: Emotional Design

  • Design Personas: A design persona is a document that describes the personality and voice of a brand or product, including an overview, personality traits, visual style, and examples of how the personality should be expressed. This helps ensure a consistent and relatable brand personality across all design and content.

  • Emotional Design Principle: The emotional design principle states that people will forgive shortcomings, follow your lead, and sing your praises if you reward them with positive emotion. Letting a brand's personality shine through can create empathy and help users connect with the brand.

  • Priming: Priming is a psychological phenomenon where exposure to an initial stimulus shapes the response to a subsequent stimulus. Designers can use priming techniques like anticipation, exclusivity, and variable rewards to positively influence user perceptions and engagement.

  • Variable Rewards: Variable rewards, where users receive unpredictable but pleasurable surprises at regular intervals, can keep users engaged and curious to see what comes next, similar to the effect of slot machines. This technique can be used effectively in interfaces to encourage users to complete tasks.

  • Risks of Emotional Design: While emotional design can be highly effective, there are risks involved. Personality and humor may not resonate with all users, and designers must be careful to avoid unintended consequences or alienating users. Balancing emotional engagement with core functionality is crucial.

  • Tailoring Personality to Context: The appropriate brand personality and emotional design tactics will vary depending on the audience, content, and business goals. A light, humorous tone may work well for some products, while a more serious, trustworthy persona is better suited for others. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for emotional design.

Chapter 2: Designing for Humans

  • Emotion is the Lingua Franca of Humanity: Humans are born with the ability to express and understand a common set of emotions, such as pain, joy, surprise, and anger. This emotional language is our native tongue from birth and is essential for communication and survival.

  • Baby-Face Bias: Humans have an innate tendency to perceive faces with large eyes, small noses, and pronounced foreheads as innocent, trustworthy, and lovable. This evolutionary adaptation helps ensure the survival of babies and has been exploited by designers to create endearing brand mascots.

  • Humans Seek Patterns and Emotional Connections: The human mind is hardwired to scan the environment for patterns and to project human characteristics onto abstract forms. This ability to recognize patterns and find emotional connections in design can be leveraged to create a sense of beauty and familiarity.

  • Contrast Shapes Perception and Behavior: Humans use contrast, both visual and cognitive, to assess whether something is "good for me or bad for me." Effective use of contrast can direct user behavior and make a brand stand out, but overuse can overwhelm the brain's limited processing capabilities.

  • Aesthetics Influence Usability: Attractive, well-designed interfaces can actually improve cognitive abilities and usability through the aesthetic-usability effect. Apple's design philosophy, which emphasizes both aesthetics and functionality, is a prime example of this principle.

  • Emotion is the Foundation of Effective Design: Emotion is a fundamental aspect of human nature and should be a core consideration in the design process. While universal emotional principles exist, the unique personalities and perspectives of users must also be taken into account to create truly engaging and human-centered designs.

Chapter 3: Personality

  • Personality is the foundation for emotional design: Personality is the "mysterious force" that attracts us to certain people and repels us from others. It is the platform for emotion and is crucial in design, as it can influence our decision-making process.

  • Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and User Experience (UX) design: HCI is a broader category that encompasses computer science, behavioral science, and design. UX designers, like HCI specialists, understand psychology, usability, interaction design, programming concepts, and visual design principles.

  • Emotional design aims to facilitate human-to-human communication: The goal of emotional design is to make the computer "recede into the background" and allow the personalities of the design and the user to rise to the surface, creating a memorable and engaging experience.

  • Designers have historically injected personality into their work: Examples include Gutenberg's movable type that mimicked the calligraphic style of scribes, and the Volkswagen Beetle's anthropomorphized design that conveyed a "perpetually hopeful and fun attitude."

  • Personas help designers understand their audience: Personas are user research artifacts that provide a detailed profile of an archetypal user, including their demographics, interests, expertise, and decision-making influences. This helps designers stay focused on user needs.

  • Surprise and delight can create positive emotional responses: Introducing surprise into an interface can break behavior patterns and force the user to reassess the situation, leading to a strong emotional response. This can be used to direct attention and shape user behavior, but should be done in a way that builds trust and brand loyalty.

  • Photojojo's use of surprise and delight: Photojojo's ecommerce experience is filled with moments of surprise and delight, such as the shopping cart that turns green and smiles when an item is added, and the mysterious "Do Not Pull" lever that reveals the product description. These novel interactions encourage users to keep exploring the site and make more purchases.

  • Designing for human experiences: Designers should strive to create human experiences, not just design pages. Preserving the human touch and showing the designer's personality in the work is essential, just as the Arts and Crafts movement emphasized.

Chapter 4: Emotional Engagement

  • Personality is a powerful way to engage your audience: Personality helps people understand who you are, shapes how they interact with you, and sets the tone for the voice, aesthetic, and interaction design of your website.

  • Emotional design techniques can build a loyal following, but may also alienate some users: The humor and fun in MailChimp's interface was appreciated by many, but disliked by others. This led to the creation of a "party pooper mode" that allowed users to disable the informal language and fun elements.

  • Even with a strong brand personality, providing options for customization can be beneficial: Despite initial reservations, the "party pooper mode" in MailChimp was only used by a small percentage of users (0.007%), indicating that the majority of users appreciated the brand's personality.

  • Progressive enhancement can help mitigate concerns about brand personality: Providing options to customize the experience, such as the "party pooper mode" in MailChimp, can help address the concerns of clients or bosses who may not understand or appreciate the brand's personality.

  • Emotional design is central to daily life and the decision-making process for consumers: The principles of emotional design, grounded in science and psychology, can lead to better conversion rates and sales.

  • Convincing your boss to implement emotional design requires a well-planned approach: This includes referencing your design persona, using case studies and data to support your arguments, and focusing on specific metrics you'd like to improve rather than trying to revolutionize everything at once.

  • Emotional design should never interfere with usability, functionality, or reliability: While emotional design can create a pleasurable experience, it must still prioritize the core functionality and reliability of the website.

  • Emotional design connects with an audience by showcasing the humans behind the brand: By channeling the brand's personality and sincerity, emotional design helps users feel like they're interacting with real people, not a corporate facade.

Chapter 5: Overcoming Obstacles

  • Gut Instinct Drives Decision-Making: Humans often rely on gut instinct rather than complex reasoning to make decisions, especially when faced with multiple valid options. Emotion serves as the "tie-breaker" that allows us to make a choice.

  • Design Can Overcome Skepticism: When trying to convince a skeptical audience to trust a brand or service, thoughtful design that appeals to emotions can be more effective than logical arguments. The design of Mint's interface, for example, helped overcome users' natural skepticism about sharing their financial data.

  • Reducing Friction Increases Engagement: Providing users with a clear path of least resistance, such as Dropbox's "game" of completing tasks to earn more storage space, can help get them invested in a service and less likely to abandon it.

  • Apathy is the Biggest Challenge: If an audience remains apathetic to a website or app, even after implementing emotional design strategies, it may be due to a mismatch between the brand's personality and the audience's needs, or poor content that fails to engage them. User research and usability testing can help identify and address these issues.

  • Mistakes Happen, but Trust Can Save You: When things go wrong, such as a service outage or bug, a well-crafted response that draws on the trust built through emotional engagement can help mitigate the damage and maintain the audience's goodwill.

Chapter 6: Forgiveness

  • Importance of Audience Goodwill: When something goes wrong with a website, having the audience's goodwill can help them overlook temporary shortcomings and maintain trust in the brand. This goodwill acts as an "insurance policy" against the inevitable problems that will occur.

  • Emotional Engagement and Cost-Benefit Analysis: When users encounter problems, there is a risk that they will perceive the costs of using the site as greater than the benefits. Emotional engagement before and during a major event can help mitigate this risk by making users more forgiving of the inconveniences they encounter.

  • Flickr's Handling of the 2006 Outage: During a major outage in 2006, Flickr responded by communicating transparently with users, providing regular updates, and running a creative coloring contest to redirect user attention. This approach helped turn a negative situation into a positive experience for many users.

  • Emotional Design as Insurance: Flickr's strong emotional design and positive brand personality were the real reasons their users stuck with them during the outage. Emotional design can make users more forgiving of a brand's mistakes and imperfections, a phenomenon known as the "rosy effect."

  • Perfection is Not the Goal: As interaction designers, we should not strive for perfection, as it is rarely possible and often not worth the effort. Instead, the focus should be on creating a positive overall experience, as the way events are remembered is more important than the actual experience.

Chapter 7: Risk & Reward

  • Emotional Design is Risky, but Worthwhile: Designing for emotion can be risky, as some people may not understand or appreciate it. However, an emotional response is far better than indifference, as it helps ensure you're talking to the right people for your business.

  • Not Every Customer is Right for Your Business: Some customers can be high-maintenance and cost more than they contribute, which can be a morale and financial drag. Emotional design can help you attract the right customers who are a good fit for your business.

  • Being Different is Better than Being the Same: If people complain that your product, service, or brand is unlike your competitors', it means you're doing something right. The greater risk is in being the same as your competitors, as it makes it harder for people to understand why your brand is the better choice.

  • Start Small with Emotional Design Experiments: You don't have to redesign your entire site or rebrand to incorporate emotional design. You can start with simple experiments in a section of your site and limit them to a short time period, as demonstrated by CoffeeCup Software's Easter egg hunt.

  • Emotional Design Can Dramatically Improve Conversions: When Blue Sky Resumes redesigned their website with a focus on emotional design, they saw a 15% increase in monthly proposal requests, a 15% increase in average revenue per client, a 65% increase in clients each month, and an 85% increase in total revenues.

  • Emotional Design Can Attract the Right Customers: Blue Sky Resumes' redesign helped them attract the right customers who were already convinced before contacting them, leading to a nearly 50% boost in their conversion rate.

  • Progressive Enhancement Allows for Emotional Design Experimentation: In addition to small, temporary changes or a full rebrand, you can experiment with emotional design using the concept of progressive enhancement, which allows you to layer enhancements on top of a solid foundation to offer a rich experience for those with more capable browsers.


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