Reading Response – Emotion & Design: Attractive Things Work Better

Emotion & Design: Attractive Things Work Better – Don Norman

“One person’s acceptance is another one’s rejection. Worse, what is appealing at one moment may not be at another.” (Norman, 33).

After reading the following chapter on Emotion & Design by Norman, the quote indicated above struck me. It is one of the most difficult part of designing a product that I could not trace its roots, and often had to conclude the struggle to find the solution by acknowledging the fact that it cannot be explained. However, Norman tries to describe the following complexity by analyzing the three levels of processing in human brains, and I realized that it is crucial for the design to touch on the behavioral and reflective levels in order to acquire the satisfaction from the users.

As Norman mentions in the later part of the chapter, all humans are relatively similar in the visceral level but can be very different in the behavioral and reflective levels. And, the following idea, I believe, is the crucial part that the designer should have in mind at all times when designing a product. The interaction that the users take can be formulated based on their behavioral level and the take-away is determined by the reflective levels – which can explain the phenomenon of how users feel different when interacting with a product.

However, even though it is important to know the following concept, it still presents a huge problem for the designer. In order to reach the satisfaction for most users, the designers have to take into account of the “different” processing levels of the users’ brains and, ultimately, design something that can have the similar effect for all. Or, at the same time, it comes to the question of rather designing something for “all”, can we use the concept of processing levels to grasp and be effective on a specific type of users? If we were to change the view into targeting a specific group of users, I believe that understanding the processing levels will be absolutely helpful.

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