Assignment 4 -
Comparing two sources, a journal and book, to show how emotion and behaviour affects what we design, how we design and how the consumer reacts to the product.
Emotion and behaviour are fundamentally important to the designer, the design itself and the relationship between the consumer and product. Investigating ‘Emotional Design’ by Donald A. Norman has proven how our brain and personality affect how we design and react to it. Also a journal article ‘Emotions by Design: A Consumer Perspective’ written by Ritundra Chitturi which questions the emotions evoked in consumers when buy and use a product. Although both sources have similar attitudes to our emotional design experience, ‘Emotional Design’ provides more broad research from different sources and the journal proves good evidence and experiments to form a valid conclusion.
Donald A. Norman is a cognitive scientist and psychologist who teaches at North-western University. He has written many books on the design of products and consumers reactions including ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ and “Emotional Design’ which question two opposite concepts important to a designer – functionality and emotion.
Norman includes many evidence-based sources to prove the point of the importance of emotion to design from an unbiased perspective. He does not show sensitivity to his point as he states he only began to investigate emotional design after studying functionality of design previously, but now beginning to question that there is more. Interestingly he doesn’t state which he claims to be more important – function or emotion, so enables the reader to make his/her own opinion. This concludes his concept that emotion is a worthy goal of design.
Advancing on Norman’s understanding of emotion and design is the ideas of Ravindra Chitturi who wrote an article for the Journal of Design called ‘Emotions by Design: A Consumer Perspective’. This is good reading for design principals as it explains how different products, the usability of them and how it can evoke positive or negative emotions in the consumer. The main concepts of this article are that there are two kinds of benefit we buy for – hedonic benefits which is buying for luxury and the opposite which she calls utilitarian benefits which focuses on what we believe to be necessities or needs (Dhar and Wertenbroch, 2000) and (Okada, 2005). She goes into each in depth however does not question the point that some products are bought for both or that some are designed to appeal to both parts of our brain. Neither is there any research into products we do not buy but given as gifts or we inherit, find etc. The source is easily followed by the reader because it shows valuable research and explains clearly experiments she conducts to prove her argument.
Chitturi argues the success of a product depends on the designers interest in what she calls the ‘prevention or promotion goals’ (Chitturi et al, 2007). Promotional goals are described as ‘looking cool’ or ‘being sophisticated’ (Higgins, 1997, 2001) and ‘prevention goals’ as ‘being responsible’. She suggests that purchasing a product you believe you need is a ‘prevention goal’ that means if it works well it will prevent us experience negative emotion. Likewise if a product is bought as a luxury and meets expectations it will have succeeded its goal of promotion as we experience feelings of joy that we will share with others. This ultimately results in the success of a design. It also suggests that a product that concentrates on having hedonic benefits has more chance of succeeding than a utilitarian product because we are more likely to complain about a product we expect to be functional. Thus creates a negative opinion of the design through word of mouth etc. This, however, also means prevention goals are more important to the designer (Kivetz & Simonson, 2002). The affect this has on emotion and design is that what and why we buy will result in the relationship we have with the product itself. ‘Why We Buy’ by Palo Underhill goes further into this idea which I intend to research.
Although the paper is not very broad, for example looking into culture or specific peoples needs, it makes good research into emotional consumerism towards design as it has critical evidence from a series of psychologists and designers and provides interesting findings proving the argument Chitturi is putting across proving emotion and cognitive behaviour should be crucial when designers begin the design process and throughout to keep good customer loyalty which fundamentally a successful design.
Another similarity is that the sources agree at our frustration when something that is meant to be functional doesn’t work and we blame the product itself, not the designer (Reeves & Nass, 1996). The journal article goes further by explaining the types of emotion we feel and express, which can often result in complaints and negative word of mouth epidemics. These are all contributing factors to why the consumer buys certain products weather it be for the attractiveness or the functionality or simply because it reminds you of something. Both sources by Norman and Chitturi bounce off one another with similar developing ideas and valid research to come to the conclusion that for whatever reason, emotion is vital to the design process and the relationship it develops with the consumer.
Chitturi, R. (2009). “Emotion and Design: A Consumer Perspective”, International Journal of Design, 3(2), 7-17.
Desmet, P, Van Erp, J, Karlsson, M. (2008). Design and Emotion Moves, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Graying, A. C. (2002). The Meaning of Things, Pheonix: New Ed edition
Fogg, P. J. (2009). “The New Rules of Perusasion”. RSA Journal, 155 (5538), 24-29
Norman, D. (2002). Design of Everyday Things, New York: Basic Books
Norman, D. (2004). Emotional Design, New York: Basic Books.