Want to design an exceptional customer experience? Spice it up with emotion, advises Senior Interaction Designer, Jon Dixon

September 16, 2016
Posted by in Brain bites: 2 min insights
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Adding emotion into the customer experience will talk to people’s unconscious brain, the more primitive parts of the brain that are in charge of making decisions.

Jon says: “It really surprises our clients to learn that most of the decisions we make, big or small, are largely made by the unconscious brain rather than the conscious brain.

“Whether you’re deciding whether to take the bus or walk, or buying a new hat, you’re usually making the decision quickly and unconsciously.”

We’re irrational beings

“We like to think we’re rational beings. You may think you’ve mulled over the evidence then come to a logical conclusion. But you’re usually using the evidence to convince yourself after the decision’s been made – you’re justifying the decision to yourself,” says Jon.

And this is the topic of the book ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist, who asks in his TED talk: Are we in control of our own decisions?


Design for irrational beings

So the key to creating exceptional user experiences is to create an emotional reaction with our interaction design. An emotion will then prompt consumers to make a decision and take action.

“Design for the irrational part of our brain. There are things that will always arouse an individual, as we’re pre-disposed to react to certain things. For example, we like rounded shapes, bright colours and shiny, smooth things,” says Jon.

“We also like to see things that remind us of ourselves such as faces. And we like stories too.”

Food, sex, danger

“Spikey or pointy objects are best avoided, as they evoke fear in our unconscious brain. The reaction is hard wired into our brains,” says Jon, “We’re constantly scanning the world for things that arouse us: Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I mate with it?”

Advertisers have been subtly talking to our unconscious brain for years and now user experience design is paying attention. Jon explains: “Up until a few years ago the focus of user experience design was usability: ensuring people can do something. Now there’s another layer: persuasion – to make it something that people will do. The future is designing for emotion – designing things that people love to do.”


The psychology of persuasion

Jon cites the work of Bob Cialdini and B J Fogg on the psychology of persuasion: “They developed guidelines for creating engaging, persuasive experiences. Their principles of persuasion include scarcity – the way we value things that are rare or if time’s running out for us to act on something.”

Psychology works

Applying psychology and neuroscience to design works: “Yes, we’re irrational beings – but it’s relatively easy to design for this, as our reactions are remarkably consistent. We can’t help ourselves – we can’t change our reactions,” says Jon.

Learn how to design for emotion

To help you apply psychology to your interaction design, Bunnyfoot runs 4 courses:

We can also run courses in house, tailoring our courses to your needs.

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