UI Design for Emotional Minds

Product Design for Emotions

Online businesses still tend towards wanting to cajole people into buying products

And how there are also signs that things are beginning to change for the better. I’ve also talked about empathy in design a lot. But of course, many online businesses still tend towards wanting to push and cajole people into buying products or subscribing to their services. Whether by manipulating search or spamming social media. This still common approach feels like a dead end that we have already reached. People can’t be fooled anymore and are even switching off.

ROI and customer satisfaction is improved with a human-centered approach

So we find ourselves in a chaotic marketplace, controlled by a handful of elite tech giants. Both businesses and consumers have become equally addicted to the system of likes, followers and analytics. However, many more digital brands are beginning to wisely invest in the emotional and humane aspect of design. Sales teams are beginning to see the benefits to their bottom lines when they design great experiences for their customers.

At last, human beings matter online. Empathy and human-centered design is not hard to understand. There is no right answer to a design problem. There are many alternative solutions that all work but just need consistent revision and renewal.

Human emotions are not like software, the brain is complex and emotional

Consider your favourite local, walk-in store. It’s a small business and there is warmth in how you are greeted by the shopkeeper. You know where all the products are and I would guess leave feeling a sense of calm. As opposed to a sense of relief after a visit to a large, automated supermarket. All websites and apps should have that local store feel about them, however big or small the actual business. Often e-commerce stores can feel cold because the marketers are understandably thinking like systems engineers, pouring over data, without any observational evidence. Design needs to be tested on people.

I kind of still view computers as counting machines, because they essentially still are. Algorithmns are the progression of this. With faster processing power to give the illusion of intelligence, which we often call “AI”. Machines may never be sentient, “alive” – unless we evolve as Cyborgs. Computer programs will, at best, mimic our behaviour.

Automation is great for reducing code, allowing more budget for experience design

Commercial design is as old as the industrial age. Design thinking considers the human experience of products, including household objects and more commonly these days, digital services. Digital products should be designed with real people in mind, more than they have ever been. Technologies have to be tested constantly and improved through iteration. A human-centered approach to design is never an exact science in the way algorithmic systems are. Computer personalisation has many flaws.

It often feels like we are slaves to our (often expensive) digital devices, when it should in fact be the other way around. But also, the cost of developing websites has reduced significantly with automated tools like SquareSpace or WordPress. Most small businesses can publish a website within a day. So this time saving convenience, means there’s a golden opportunity to pour all your energies into designing a great experience. This allows you more space to hone your content, brand and emotional connection with your audience.

Designers must collaborate with end users, the people who use the product

We should also be cautious too. There is always a danger we can get too fixated with internal company processes (or politics). When we focus too much on statistics, our audience becomes abstract. While human-centered design requires a degree of research and analysis, we must regular seek feedback from our users. Human-centered design is something everyone can participate in too, irrespective of whether you prefer facts and figures or designing layouts. The point is that, just like life, designing great products is not an exact science. Nothing is orderly or set in stone. It’s hard work understanding people’s behaviour. But it’s rewarding when your business succeeds. Because you considered human needs first.