Today we will speak about emotional design, its definition, why it is so important to touch people’s feelings and how to make your design stir them. At the end of the blog post you will find a bunch of free beautiful retro patterns that will hopefully come in handy for your designs.
Don’t want to wait till the end of the post? You can take a look at some other free patterns.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Jason Barger
Emotional Design Using Patterns
How can we define the emotional design?
In fact all design is emotional. Let us explain why. Emotional design is the design with an emotional intent. Creating a website, designers focus on personal concerns/values and meaning. They intend to evoke targeted emotions by taking targeted design decisions. Of course we are not able to design the emotion itself; however, it’s absolutely real and is a common practice to design for emotion. We develop the context in which emotions are elicited.
The motives of our online actions and their reasons
What’s interesting, most people are very emotional beings and it’s not only our mind or common sense that motivate us to take certain actions online.
Seduction is what encourages people to take up a certain behavior. Please make no mistake; we don’t talk about erotic connotation only, as the term seduction has a much deeper meaning than that. Either online or offline things can be seductive. They happen anywhere when humans are involved into something, where they have a really good time, etc. What can be seductive? Your first date, going to Disney World with parents, a concert of your favorite band and many other experiences.
We offer you to make a very brief trip over the stages of website creation in order to understand where the question of visitor’s attraction arises. First of all you start to think about usability, information architecture and other things like these. Then you start to plan your product strategy, business goals and what you are trying to achieve from a business perspective. Eventually this journey leads you to customers’ psychology. You begin to guess what makes people take certain decisions or behave in certain ways. Here you urgently need to figure out how to motivate them and how to keep them engaged.
Stages of engagement:
- Everything starts with a great idea: something that’s functional and works.
- When the first “WOW” effect comes to its end, you’ve got to work on the reliability of your product.
- As time goes by, people become more fault-finding. So, it’s high time to think about usability.
- There’s only one step to making things usable, fixing all bugs to make them convenient.
- The highest goal of any developer is making things enjoyable, pleasurable. At this point you try to engage people on an emotional level, seduce them, making things fun.
Only by designing products that add meaning to people’s lives can you become really successful. You should realize that you have to switch from the task you are trying to accomplish to the experience you are trying to create. When we talk about psychology and motivation (where you’re making things fun, meaningful, engaging, playful) you climb to the emotional level of your client.
But there still remain the questions like how can you leverage psychology to make the message easier to understand or easier to comprehend or understand why this or that is important for the customer.
There are several hacks most websites use for the purpose:
- Such common, simple things like testimonials affect customers’ choices. People like to read testimonials as they take it as a kind of social proof.
- Just agree that when we see these big brands or familiar names or a lot of people endorsing something – this raises our trust, makes us feel safer revealing our personal information.
- Signing up or registration processes are routine things until you include a part of gameplay into them. For instance, don’t make your customers recollect all their favorite brands. Just give them a ready-made list to choose from. Here the real fun begins. Instead of going to the keyboard the users can just click on things they like. We guarantee that that this occupation will allure the visitors (they will have fun!) and they will spend much more time onsite. And don’t forget about additional information about your prospective clients! You will collect it in the most unobtrusive manner that will give you an opportunity to cater to their needs better. The best thing about this situation is that it is win-win for everybody.
The same game-like technique can be applied to serious traditional business applications like a college enrollment form or filling out the tax returns. To all the things that we traditionally consider kind of boring business apps.
How do most web developers implement fun elements into website designs?
You can see many examples on live websites exploiting the basic game mechanics. Points, levels, scoreboards, achievements and so on. We are pretty sure that you have seen a great number of them. The problem is that the same game rarely stays popular for a long period of time. Users simply get tired of it.
The appropriate challenges are worthy and time-tested traps that attract customers. All of us love challenges, especially the ones with variable rewards. This is the secret of the everlasting craze of slot machines. An interim conclusion suggests itself: things that are timeless and motivate us are pattern recognition, curiosity, reputation status and social proof.
Customers’ mood and website’s efficiency – the interdependency
Other things that always raise customers’ mood and make them smile are animal images, used as mascots, for instance, random droll phrases, links to funny videos or pics and stuff like that. A small portion of humor, pop culture, music can turn out to be really efficient. The essence is that people are using your website, doing not necessarily the most enjoyable things there, but they are smiling and stay in a good mood.
Please note an interesting fact. It’s humans’ psychological peculiarity that when we are more relaxed or in a happy state of mind, we are more likely to find workarounds to troubling situations. That is: positive emotions help us solve tasks quicker and easier. In other words people that are agitated and of a foul disposition are much less likely to find the solution compared to those that are in a more relaxed state of mind.
More tricks that encourage users
Try to make UIs counter-intuitive. This may also work well. Let us explain. For example, a simple limit on the number of characters your customer can insert into one field can encourage them to fill out the form. They will think something like this: “Hmm… 400 characters only. That won’t take more than 5 minutes of my time. I think I’ll do that.”
Teasing people with little goodies will also do you good. Advise them to sign up, pay a monthly fee, and offer a reward. Yes, it’s a traditional value pitch.
The next essential point to consider is the extent of UI or interaction simplicity. If the task is too simple – we get bored, if it’s too complicated – we just quit. Only a perfect balance of both, plus how interesting the task is, or how curious the question is (the appropriate challenge) increases people’s engagement.
And now let’s get down to the practical part of our blog post. We won’t uncover anything new by saying that retro style takes a special place in web design. It can be called warm, welcoming and very prepossessing. Most users like it because it touches their emotions, the best, positive part of them. As a rule, visitors don’t want to leave cozy vintage style websites as they combine aesthetic appeal, reasonable simplicity, habitualness and many other things that seem comfortable and trustworthy. We are sure that you have used the technique more than once in your web design career. So, these free retro patterns featured below will be very useful for your emotional designs. Click on any image to visit the download page.
No matter what your goal is. Maybe you want more people to sign up on the home page or more people to click the button or make customers come back again. It could be anything. Ask yourself questions like: “What do I want people to do onsite?” “How can I use curiosity to get more people to register?” Or “How could I social proof to get more people to register?”
Find unusual answers, like posting satisfied customers avatars if you need strong social proof. When users see smiling people’s faces and their good feedback, they start to believe that you render the best services.
This way, focusing on users’ emotions and behavior, you will solve any specific issue.