Transcript: Ask the UXperts: Designing Emotional Experiences — with Aarron Walter

Transcript: Ask the UXperts: Designing Emotional Experiences — with Aarron Walter

Summary:

Aarron Walter joined us in our Slack channel to talk about the power of designing emotional experiences. We are emotional beings and tapping into that makes for more powerful work.

If you missed the session, here is a transcript for your reading pleasure.

On Friday we were lucky enough to snare an hour of Aarron Walter’s time. We used it wisely, picking his brain on the topic of his bestselling book Designing for Emotion.

I really loved this session because it was relatable and packed full of examples of emotional design done really well.

I also picked up a new favourite quote: “A designer shooting for usable is like a chef shooting for edible”.

If this topic is right up your alley, we have another treat for you! Our inaugural online bookclub has recently kicked off. We’re studying Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things. It’s not too late to join us. Here is everything you need to know.

If you didn’t make the session today because you didn’t know about it, make sure you join our community to get updates of upcoming sessions.

If you’re interested in seeing what we discussed, or you want to revisit your own questions, here is a full transcript of the chat.

Transcript

hawk
2017-06-15 22:01
So first up, a huge thank you to @aarron for his time today

hawk
2017-06-15 22:01
I’m a big fan of his, so I cold emailed, crossed my fingers, and here he is

hawk
2017-06-15 22:01
The formal intro:
As the VP of Design Education at InVision, Aarron Walter draws upon 15 years of experience running product teams and teaching design to help companies enact design best practices. Aarron founded the UX practice at MailChimp and helped grow the product from a few thousand users to more than 10 million. His design guidance has helped the White House, the US Department of State, and dozens of major corporations, startups and venture capitalist firms.

He is the author of the best selling book Designing for Emotion from A Book Apart. You’ll find @aarron on Twitter sharing thoughts on design.
Learn more at http://aarronwalter.com.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:02
If you haven’t read Designing for Emotion, you should.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:02
@aarron – over to you

aarron
2017-06-15 22:03
Hi everyone. Before we get started I just want to say thanks to UX Mastery for hosting and supporting the design community. It’s a pleasure to chat with you. If we don’t get to your question or you think of one later you can find me on twitter at http://twitter.com/aarron or on my personal site at http://aarronwalter.com. And if the discussion piques your interest, you can read more in my book Designing for Emotion http://www.abookapart.com/products/designing-for-emotion

aarron
2017-06-15 22:04
I want to talk about something squishy, something difficult to understand, something that doesn’t easily fit into a formula or metric—emotion. It’s something that’s hard to measure and therefore can easily be pigeonholed as lacking value.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:05
Things that have no value don’t get our attention. But emotion is a tremendous resource we can tap to create value.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:06
Industrial designers know this already. They use emotion to increase price points and profit margins.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:06
Let me give you an example …

aarron
2017-06-15 22:06
This is the Honda Fit: http://automobiles.honda.com/fit

aarron
2017-06-15 22:07
It’s a practical car—it’s fuel efficient, is great for taking the kids to school or going to the grocery store. It’s a great choice for a road trip, and you can have one for ~$16,000 US. Not bad.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:08
This is the Lexus RC: http://www.lexus.com/models/RC

aarron
2017-06-15 22:08
It’s also fuel efficient, is great for taking the kids to school or going to the grocery store.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:09
It’s great for a road trip and costs ~$40,000 US to start.

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:09
QUESTION: How can empathy maps be better used in interviews to develop user personas?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:09
These two cars are functionally very similar, but the Lexus is considerably more expensive.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:09
Why?

jellybean
2017-06-15 22:10
It’s sexier.

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:10
The branding?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:10
Because the Lexus has a very strong emotional value proposition.

jellybean
2017-06-15 22:11
So it appeals to the car junkie who wants something that looks cool, fast, sleek (ie not like a grannie or school run car)

tvskumar
2017-06-15 22:12
Namsthey India

aarron
2017-06-15 22:12
That proposition is layered, but we could break it down to: social status (People look at me and admire when I drive this thing), It gives the driver a rush of endorphins as they speed through a corner.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:13
The culinary arts are also well aware of emotional value propositions.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:15
Restaurants Chez Panisse and elbulli sell experiences that inspire, excite, and delight—they’re not selling food.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:15
People wait for months to get a reservation and travel from around the world to eat a meal with them.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:15
They have a very strong emotional value proposition.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:16
For all the talk in our industry about creating a great user experience we rarely encounter a product that is as carefully considered as the experience elbulli creates.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:18
Because we’re scared to take such a huge leap? Perhaps our product won’t sell if we only focus on the visceral?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:18
We create functional/reliable/usable products. That’s great, but we’ll only ever achieve mediocrity with that formula.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:18
A designer shooting for usable is like a chef shooting for edible

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:19
I’m wondering if it also has something to do with our target market. For example, how excited would an estimator get when he uses great project cost accounting software?

steph_stump
2017-06-15 22:20
I suspect that time is a constraint as well

aarron
2017-06-15 22:20
@desertcoder it’s a fair point. Does every product need to transcend that low bar of being usable? I’d argue no.

nhatter
2017-06-15 22:22
familiar. comfortable.

laura_r
2017-06-15 22:22
approachable even

steph_stump
2017-06-15 22:22
versus adventurous and mysterious.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:23
Not likely to go wrong

alex.lee
2017-06-15 22:23
I would say we need to consider emotions as a UX arsenal for critical parts of product where users are faced with a decision and are sitting on the fence

aarron
2017-06-15 22:23
But there are opportunities in our businesses where we can tap into emotion and identify an emotional value proposition that can help our product stand out in a crowded market, build brand recognition, reduce churn, and increase revenues.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:24
Let me give you a real example …

nhatter
2017-06-15 22:24
we can trigger dopamine or cortisol response. though the later seems ethically suspect

aarron
2017-06-15 22:24
Photojojo, a mobile photography company with a strong personality, has increased their conversion rate on their product pages with emotional design.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:25
Check out this page and when it says “Do not pull” disobey and click the lever: http://photojojo.com/awesomeness/cell-phone-lenses

aarron
2017-06-15 22:25
Go ahead, I’ll wait …

hawk
2017-06-15 22:27
haha

steph_stump
2017-06-15 22:27
cute

tvskumar
2017-06-15 22:27
PET plays a major role in makeing decisions

aarron
2017-06-15 22:27
That crazy muppet arm that comes down and pulls the page to the product description puts a smile on a shoppers face, and as you well know when we’re in the right mood, we buy more.

laura_r
2017-06-15 22:28
aww shucks – i missed that it was an arm and kept redoing trying to figure out what was happening, although if the muppet is present throughout the brand I bet I would have picked up on that

aarron
2017-06-15 22:28
And lest you think all emotional design is only about humor and pleasure, take a look at this product marketing page for the genetic testing service 23andMe: https://www.23andme.com/howitworks/

steph_stump
2017-06-15 22:28
and most people will push a button they are specifically told NOT to push

aarron
2017-06-15 22:30
Genetic testing can be scary. Your results could foreshadow a malady that could alter your future, the process of collecting the DNA could be unpleasant, the information could potentially be hacked and used for nefarious reasons. Fear is a significant burden to this business so they need to get good at converting fear into trust.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:31
Clear copy squashes those fears: “It’s just saliva. No blood. No needles.” Whew!

aarron
2017-06-15 22:31
“Your privacy is our priority.” Ok, sounds good.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:32
“Security matters.” Damn straight!

aarron
2017-06-15 22:33
I’m sure you have a number of great examples of emotional design shaping your behavior. Rather than rambling on about the opportunities presented by emotional design, I’d like to field your questions.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:34
Questions please!
RELATED:  Transcript: Ask the UXperts: Getting Started in UX with Jodie Moule

aarron
2017-06-15 22:34
@desertcoder asked about empathy maps. Here’s an example template of one: http://aarr.co/1J3m3E2G3F0E

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:34
Is part of finding value included in the empathy map?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:34
An empathy map is a handy tool to help you get emotional context.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:35
What emotions influence a person’s behavior with this product?

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:36
It sounds like the emotions are unearthed through user interviews?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:36
Through customer interviews we can identify what’s going on in our user’s mind: what they hear, think and feel, see, say and do. We also identify what pain they’re confronting that perhaps drew them to the product/is experienced with the product, and what they gain from it.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:37
How we approach and process emotion is obviously pretty personal. Is there a danger of ostracising large segments of our audience by injecting to much of a personal angle into our work? How do you test for this?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:37
From this we can identify the highs and lows of the experience. http://aarr.co/1q0v2j272R0x

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:38
Will customers be truly authentic in disclosing those feelings/emotions? If not, what are some techniques?

alex.lee
2017-06-15 22:38
How do we best guard our work from letting our own emotions about something (usually new concept the team is excited about, but may not be a good market fit) getting in the way of uncovering how our users really feel?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:38
@hawk there certainly is a risk of latching onto an emotion that’s not commonly held, but it’s usually pretty easy to identify what peaks and valleys are common in the user experience.

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:40
@alex.lee Good point! We must be careful to prevent bias from tainting our designs. We found using a different designer to perform usability testing works well.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:41
When I joined MailChimp many moons ago, I was a long time user and knew what it felt like to use the product to create an email campaign. Once I got to the point where I could press send I felt relieved, ecstatic even. Chatting with customers confirmed they too felt the same. That was an opportunity for us to do something special—the now (relatively) famous MailChimp high five. http://aarr.co/3Q301y0H023o

aarron
2017-06-15 22:41
The moment resonated with people so much that they started to high five their computer screens.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:42

aarron
2017-06-15 22:43
Just do a Twitter search for “MailChimp highfive” and you’ll see a stream of people responding to that interaction. https://twitter.com/search?q=mailchimp%20high%20five&src=typd

aarron
2017-06-15 22:43
@alex.lee asked “How do we best guard our work from letting our own emotions about something (usually new concept the team is excited about, but may not be a good market fit) getting in the way of uncovering how our users really feel?”

aarron
2017-06-15 22:44
Simple answer, talk to your customers on a regular basis to understand their experience.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:45
You’re designing for them.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:45
“If there’s a simple, easy design principle that binds everything together, it’s probably about starting with people.”
Bill Moggridge, IDEO

nhatter
2017-06-15 22:45
What have you found is the best way to talk with the customers? We’re seeing good results from phone interviews but that can be difficult to nail down

aarron
2017-06-15 22:48
High five to @desertcoder for asking great questions! “Will customers be truly authentic in disclosing those feelings/emotions? If not, what are some techniques?”

aarron
2017-06-15 22:48
Visiting customers in person at their work place, home, or third place (favorite coffee shop or bar for example), will make them feel comfortable and more forthcoming. Spend an extended period of time there to see their true habits and personality.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:49
Don Norman talks about visceral, behavioural and reflective emotional states in design. Do you think that one of those is more powerful than the others? Where would you start?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:51
@hawk not sure that one is more powerful than another, but being aware of the types of experiences people have is helpful.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:52
@nhatter asked “What have you found is the best way to talk with the customers? We’re seeing good results from phone interviews but that can be difficult to nail down”

hawk
2017-06-15 22:52
We have 5 more mins of @aarron’s time. Last chance for questions.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:54
That’s a deep subject. There’s an art to talking to customers and extracting insights. I’ve always told researchers I’ve trained that we’re not trying to capture everything a customer tells us, just the gold. Active listening for the key insight is important. Let someone else write all the notes.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:54
You might want to read Steve Portigal’s book Interviewing Users: http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/interviewing-users/

lynne
2017-06-15 22:54
Are there any ethical issues around manipulating people’s emotions?

aarron
2017-06-15 22:54
IT’s great!

nhatter
2017-06-15 22:55
@aarron Thanks! I’ll check that out

aarron
2017-06-15 22:55
@lynne Certainly. Facebook has gotten into hot water for manipulating new feed to trigger positive/negative emotion.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:56
Do unto others as you would have done to you :wink:

hawk
2017-06-15 22:56
Love it. That’s probably a great note on which to finish.

hawk
2017-06-15 22:57
Respect.

aarron
2017-06-15 22:57
It’s been a real pleasure chatting with you all.

desertcoder
2017-06-15 22:57
Thanks so much!

hawk
2017-06-15 22:57
Thanks so much for your time. I’ve enjoyed learning from you.

nhatter
2017-06-15 22:57
:clap::skin-tone-3:

tvskumar
2017-06-15 22:58
thank you aarron for your time

monicapike
2017-06-15 22:58
Thank you to UX Mastery for making this possible. And to Aaron for keeping it so simple – I gained so much insight!

hawk
2017-06-15 22:58
Thanks everyone for joining us today. I always appreciate the insights and questions.

lynne
2017-06-15 22:58
Thanks! I will never think about restaurants the same way again!

Sarah Hawk
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