Even though user experience design still focuses on ease of use and functionality, it is evolving to encompass much more. Today, customers expect engaging, empathetic, and meaningful experiences when they use an app. Designers who do not provide such an experience risk users leaving the app or website and never returning.
Even though it requires additional considerations, emotionally intelligent UX (user experience) design benefits app developers, businesses, and users by enhancing crucial emotional connections that lead to meaningful relationships and positive associations.
What is Emotional Design?
This design principle entails designing user experiences that evoke specific emotional responses and pleasant experiences. For business apps, these emotions might be trust and comfort, while it may be joy, surprise, or delight for other types of apps. By eliciting strong emotions and helping build emotional connections, this design principle can influence user engagement and decision-making.
Understanding Your App’s Users
App developers can make the mistake of designing an app for themselves, forgetting that it should provide what its users want. For this reason, developers should separate themselves from their projects and instead focus on delivering the best experience to the app’s users.
Doing so starts with understanding the users, followed by researching the user experience they would like best. When conducting the research, teams can use a UX research plan template to explain what the research entails and present their findings when done.
A UX research plan also keeps the team focused and working on the same outcomes while helping it avoid changes that could derail the project.
Understand and Implement Emotional Design Principles
For effective emotional user experiences, designers should understand the guidelines behind these design principles. These include:
- Visual design – The use of imagery, colors, visual hierarchy, and typography to evoke emotions.
- Micro-transactions – These are small interactions within the interface that provide feedback and validation when a user performs specific actions.
- Personalization – Providing tailored experiences remains one of the best ways to evoke an emotional response, whether in UX design or marketing.
Collect and Implement Feedback from Users
Most apps are tested after development and before release to iron out any remaining bugs. However, design teams should put their designs in front of potential users to see the reactions they evoke. They can then collect feedback and data that inform them how well their designs work to evoke the desired emotions, and the changes they need to make.
Doing this also saves the business time and money because the development team will not have to base their work on designs that do not lead to desired results.
Consider Ethical Issues
Emotional user experience design can cross the line into emotional manipulation. There has been a lot of discussion about social media companies crossing this line, which means this is something design teams have to keep in mind. Design teams should strive to balance emotional appeal and respecting user autonomy and privacy when designing an app.
Emotionally intelligent user experience design enables designers to create apps that appeal to users emotionally. When doing so, they should keep the basic principles in mind and test their design to ensure they produce the desired results, but also avoid crossing ethical boundaries as they do so.