Conclusion – Designing for Emotion


We’ve come a long way in this little volume, through design and psychology principles applied by Airbnb, Intuit, Headspace, Mailchimp, and Wealthsimple, to name a few. Despite the vast differences in audience, markets, and design, there is a common thread to them all. In each example we see careful consideration for the complex range of emotions humans feel in different phases of the customer journey.

Slack and Airbnb offer us inspiring examples of how we can design more inclusively, and in doing so, create deep emotional engagement while widening our audience. One simple question helps us think inclusively in all of our design processes: Who are we leaving out?

As you begin to design for emotion, keep in mind the timing of your efforts. Design moments that are engaging when your audience is most receptive and when you’ll have maximum impact on their experience.

Though functional, reliable, and usable, the examples we’ve examined go further to create a pleasurable experience. Emotional design connects with an audience in ways we could have never fathomed during the bygone era of usable but unremarkable websites and products. We can channel personality into our work so our users can feel like they’re interacting with a human—not a corporate avatar. They appreciate us for our sincerity, and they trust us because they see themselves in our brand. And when we make inevitable mistakes, they’ll be more likely to forgive us because our earnestness is visible.

A common thread weaves through the principles and examples in this book: as we reflect on the complicated emotions people bring to our work and as we thoughtfully design for them, we give those we serve a sense of our shared humanity that can bring us closer to the hopeful vision we once had for the web.

We’re not just designing screens. We’re designing human experiences. Like the visionaries of the Arts and Crafts movement, we know that preserving the human touch and showing ourselves in our work isn’t optional: it’s essential.