How to Increase User Engagement via Emotional Design?

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What is it?

The product is not only for its functionality and usability, it is the design concept that communicates with users through their personalities and thus manages to create an emotional bond.

In the book Emotional Design, Donald Norman summarizes this concept as follows:

“Emotional Design is the design that has managed to appeal to your emotions.”

The main subject of the book is that products that appeal to emotions are also more functional and more usable. Norman mentions the effect of aesthetic design that addresses human emotions on usability perception and the results of this researches with his own studies.

Emotional Design Levels

According to Norman, emotional design in a product has three different levels in users.

1. Visceral Design Level

It is a level of completely subconscious reactions when users encounter a product. The visceral design gives users fast and strong reactions play a big role in feeling happy and excited.

  • Instant Emotional Responses
  • Totally Subconscious
  • Shapes, colors, fonts, visuals
  • Different Cultures, Different Emotions
Visceral Design Triggers

Colors, elements, and characters that reflect brand identity trigger users to react faster.

For example, the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to MailChimp, which is successful in mailing marketing globally, is undoubtedly the postman monkey (named Freddie). A cheerful personality, benefited by the newsletter service that most people find boring.

Introduction pages with different interactions increase the subconscious reaction in users. While encouraging the user, we can strengthen the emotional bond between the products and increase the tolerance for errors and deficiencies.

2. Behavioral Design Level

It is the level of behavioral response of users in the product experience. The availability, physical feel, and performance of a product are important in behavioral design. If we can analyze the needs of users in detail, we can offer a good behavioral design experience.

  • Function
  • Availability
  • Understandability of the Product
  • Performance
  • Feeling of Experience
3. Reflective Design Level

In a reflective level, users get acquainted with your product and experience it. If he/she had a good experience at the behavioral design level, he/she passes to this stage in positive emotion. Users at this level want to establish a link between them and the product.

How do we apply Emotional design?

Before applying Emotional design to a digital service or product, we have a detailed UX research process and we try to understand the users in-depth.

I will illustrate this whole process from a mobile e-commerce assistant application that we made last. (We haven’t gotten permission from the client to share the project name yet J.)

Since the app has AI (artificial intelligence), we created an abstract assistant and created an abstract mascot. A character that constantly guides its users and advises them.

We supported this character with sincere and humorous sentences/terms like an old friend. Ex:

Let’s work a bit! If you list the products below, sales will increase by 23%.

We advantageously used the contrast of the green color to many areas of the application and correlated the application with the color.

We changed the sales notifications of the application with the sound of money that every person will love. Thus, we were able to attract the user to the application constantly.

In order to personalize the experience a little more, we have differentiated some cards on the dashboard according to various marketplaces. This action made the user feel a sense of belonging to the application.

We made improvements to increase the usage rate of the application with awards and surprises. It increased its usage by 35% compared to its previous version.

I would love to listen to your experiences, feel free to write in the comments section.

Take care~

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