Home Communication The power of Emotional Design: a way to inspire and connect
The power of Emotional Design: a way to inspire and connect
8 May, 2024

Let's imagine a child in the store, lying on the floor, with tears in his eyes, kicking his legs and crying out for a dazzling toy. Or perhaps you, when trying to use a new technological product, find unexpected difficulties: “it seemed so simple and after all…” the anguish, the frustration, the feeling of incapacity. These are just a few examples of how emotions shape our lives and influence our interactions, decisions, and the way we learn.

We live in a consumer society, where individual desires are intertwined with collective references. We look not just for products but also for connection,  purpose, and values. This universe is full of meanings and symbolisms that awaken the triggers of feeling and the construction of identity through consumption. We talk about the intangible and the power of emotions!

In this context, affection and pleasure become competitive and intelligent business strategies. The result? Products and services designed to provide impactful, intuitive, and efficient experiences. In addition to working well, they make us feel good, reinforcing emotional connections, awakening pleasure in use, and enhancing positive experiences.


The importance of perceived quality

More than excellent products and services is needed to win consumer preference. A gap can no longer be ignored: the perception of quality. It is necessary to understand not only what consumers say they want, but also how they perceive and evaluate the product or service and the context in which they operate. The intangible involves and affects perception, influencing the value the consumer perceives. It's complex, but the good news is that this can be shaped by business strategies by directing resources more efficiently in search of exceeding the expectations of the existing market.

Perceived quality is constructed based on the opinion, impression, or consumers' feelings about products and services, considering their usability, suitability, and reliability. Thus, how consumers perceive quality reflects their interactions and is not always directly linked to the actual quality of the product or service. We are talking about perception, and this parameter is often influenced by a pre-conceived idea or by a reflection of previous interactions. That's why creating strategies to shape perceived quality can be one of the secrets to success in today's market.


Create emotional connections

Product diversity is more than an option; responding to a mass world is necessary. Therefore, creating emotional connections with consumers becomes a crucial competitive advantage and, at the same time, a challenge. This is where the power of Emotional Design comes in.

Every detail, from shape to colour, information to activations, can provoke feelings that influence how users perceive and interact. This emotional connection is not just a theory; it has a tangible impact on the user experience and customer loyalty. After all, products with affective appeals are more desirable, attractive, and charming.

This is where another challenge and an ingredient for success comes in: these emotions are not universal. They are shaped by each person’s culture and social context. Therefore, understanding cultural nuances becomes essential to creating products that resonate with your target audience. Emotions have the power to profoundly influence the way the human mind approaches and solves problems.

Emotional Design seeks to offer solutions beyond functional needs, by materialising tangible strategies as a stimulus to awaken these emotions, feeding a new mentality that positively values ​​these feelings. Thus boosting efficiency, effectiveness, ease of use, and reliability makes the product more appealing, desirable, attractive, and charming.


Business vision: emotions as a competitive differentiator

For companies, the strategy boils down to maximising positive emotions and minimising negative ones, recognising that emotions are changeable, continuous and temporal.

It's time to break with the traditional and embrace a new era of design centred on human skills and needs. Thinking about emotions adds tangible and intangible value to the product and increases user satisfaction. Emotional design gains strength to enhance these affective and subjective relationships, inspiring true feelings and connections.

Human factors and emotions play an interconnected role in the user experience, considering functionality, aesthetics, and emotions when designing products that truly captivate and satisfy consumers. The magic of developing products focused on a holistic experience involves empathy and sensitivity throughout the entire process.

This applies to the most varied sectors, such as in the HTIR Department of the CCG/ZGDV, where we introduce the emotional perspective, not only in the development of technological products or as an aid to learning but also in the industrial area, in health, or On education. Interestingly, we reduced errors, requests for help, and dropouts and improved efficiency, with a decrease in negative emotions and an increase in positive emotions.

In this way, success is inevitable: greater sales, satisfied customers, and a brand that stands out. This is the power of emotional design in the era of the competitive market. So, the next time you think about design, remember the power of moving, inspiring and captivating your users. After all, emotions are the true competitive differentiator in the business world.


Author: Iara Margolis

Human factors researcher at HTIR (Human Technology-Interaction and Robotics) at the CCG/ZGDV Institute. PhD in design (with the theme of emotional design), a post-doctorate in user experience (UX) in extended reality (XR), and a master's degree and bachelor's degree in engineering.