“Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things”

By Donald Norman

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today’s book was recommended by @Gabriel Moffa, CEO and Founder of Mygda, and member of our family as well! ❤


Emotional Design displays a useful approach to create products that deliver positive experiences for users.

UX/UI designers, for example, use this approach to design efficient interfaces in order to trigger a positive emotional response from the users.

Three Levels of Emotional Design

Emotions play a significant role in the human potential of understanding and learning the world. Positive experiences arouse curiosity and liking, whereas negative experiences safeguard us from repeating mistakes. Emotional design has a strong influence on the designs of websites, applications and products as well.

A good design should put an emphasis on utility, not only with beauty; it should provide a clear sense of purpose and it should be easy to understand the product’s function and how the user should operate with it! Objects don’t need to be complicated or to have instructional materials to guide its use; rather, it would be better if the product’s design intuitively suggested to the user every possible action of use, and the intents of the design at first.

Components for a Great Design

Some designers would opt for aesthetics over functionality, hoping to make a positive appeal to the user’s emotions through beauty. Unfortunately, it would mostly lead in very uncomfortable and difficult-to-understand designed objects, that despite their beauty, will leave room for more practical designs instead.

“The behavioral level in human beings is especially valuable for well-learned, routine operations. This is where the skilled performer excels.” 

Donald Norman

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Donald A. Norman is a researcher, professor, and author from the USA, as well as the director of The Design Lab at University of California, San Diego. He is well known for his books on design, especially The Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design.

 His publications all have the underlying purpose of encouraging the design field, but always taking a controversial position. He believes that the design research community has had little impact in the innovation of products.

Attractive things do work better—their attractiveness produces positive emotions, causing mental processes to be more creative, more tolerant of minor difficulties. “

Donald Norman

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