Data Reading: Wk 12

Emotional Design

The reading introduces the concept of “attractive design” not just being an aesthetic requirement but essential to the usability of a device. Once again, Apple designs immediately come to mind. To me, the most eye-opening revelation was in the opening chapter where the author tells us why attractiveness helps people perform certain tasks. Seeing or interacting with an attractive design is pleasurable, it puts us in an elevated mood. This elevated mood is most conducive to creativity. Creativity allows us the flexibility to figure out how to use a new object. By contrast, the anger we feel when an ugly object does not respond to us makes us want to increase our level of effort, which inevitably results in rage induced destruction.

One can’t help but think of Apple designs. Does Apply have the best functionality? Other designs may allow more options, more control and more customization. But the sheer beauty of the touch screen or the one touch button on the iPad or iPhone causes us to overlook those defects. Or are those defects negligible in the first place because of the superior aesthetic. Whatever the case may be, Steve Jobs understood the users desire to be immersed in a beautiful experience. He understood the pleasure of “cool”, the tiny jolt of delight one gets from a novel immersive experience. It is a powerful thing, one only has to take an iPad in front of someone who has never used it to truly observe the power of aesthetic pleasure.

There are of course different types of aesthetic enjoyment which the reading discusses. Along with pure visceral enjoyment, there is also the addition of aural pleasure (accompanying music), competition or novelty factor and then of course pure emotional attachment which evolves after prolonged use. To develop that trust between object and user is the gold standard every programmer/designer must aspire to.


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