Design for emotions

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A few years ago, it was super easy to find a horrible website or app that needed urgent re-design. Thanks to all the talented designers and new trends out there the web is a much more beautiful and exciting place now. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that even though there’re plenty of sleek responsive flat websites and products, most of them are soulless. Companies spend so much time on building the next Uber for bicycles, or Tinder for snails, or Airbnb for public toilets etc, but they forget that their product also needs identity. Just like any other product, today more than ever, web products need to create emotions in their users, they have to make people feel better, inspired, excited. That’s not only a marketing task anymore.

When it comes to design, I don’t think that there is a specific framework we have to follow in order to build an emotional brand, but there is definitely ? sequence of specific steps I always try to follow when working with small companies and starups that don’t have a solid brand strategy yet.

1) Identify the target audience of the product.

Who’s going to use the product? Who’s the main user, what do they like, where do they live and work, what’s their routine, their main characteristic. User personas are super useful here.

2) Your aim

That’s a tricky one, because my aim as a designer of course is to achieve sleek, easy to use and navigate product, etc, this is a no brainer. However, we should think beyond this. Yes, the UX has to be perfect, but so is the UX of many other similar products.

You don’t get people to remember you only because you’re perfect. That’s actually boring. We should think deeper about the audience and what’s that the brand trying to achieve. Do you need to build trust, do you need to evoke emotions that users have forgotten about, do you need to cheer them up. Or maybe you need to make them feel better about themselves without them realising this is because they’re using your product? Emotional design starts with immaculate UX, but it never ends there, good UX is only the beginning.

3) Identify what emotions you need to evoke in your users.

This should be part of your brand voice and marketing strategy, but it also must be incorporated into your design. Make a list and give it to your designers. They’ll be grateful.

4) How are you going to achieve this?

That’s where the magic starts. Every project is unique, but the components that always give soul to an online product are the perfect synergy between unique brand voice, colours, typography, imagery and logo. Remember – they don’t have to stand out on their own, they need to merge in a perfect emotional blend that leaves the user “Wow” and turn him/her into a customer.

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Happy Halloween!