The emotion in the design process

The contemporary lifestyle has brought many technological devices for our day-to-day, but it is not difficult to list products we love and others hate. This occurs why we are not pragmatic, products that we interact in our day-to-day not only serve to provide for our physical and/or physiological needs, but also our emotional needs. Emotions are important to human beings and affect decisively the way we feel, behave, think and interact. Develop products that emotionally affect positively the users is one of the challenges of the interaction designer.

For Norman, the artifacts of design has three levels of interaction: Visceral, Behavioral and Reflective. The visceral level is described by the first impact with the product, in this interaction the user pre-judges the artifact by appearance. The behavioral level involves recognition of the qualities of use and issues related to pleasure and affection in use. The level reflective encompasses the subjective point of view and intangible user, where he makes comparisons with their individual memories and personal and/or collective satisfaction.

In affective interaction emotion is a critical aspect whether it be an input to a system or an affective impact of the interaction.

We can use some methods to measure the emotional responses of users, such as:

  • Self-report: questionnaires, interviews, and other assessment tools;
  • Physiological: brain waves, muscle electromyography, heart rate, blood pressure, galvanic skin responses, pupil dilation;
  • Logs: observation, recording the interaction and face of users.

To assess the emotional responses of users, we discuss below a framework for evaluating user interfaces. This framework uses the assessment tool (self-report) called SAM (Self Assessment Manikin) on two occasions, in addition to using interaction record.

SAM uses an cognitive approach by images (Manikins), where the emotions are perceived through stimuli that respond to events. According to Morris, through three dimensions: Pleasure, Arousal and Dominance, the form SAM (see Figure 1) is able to describe any emotion.


Figure 1. SAM – Self Assessment Manikin

The successful implementation of the evaluation, requires a set of non-homogeneous users. After selecting the group, you can present the prototype that will be assessed to the participants then divide the participants into smaller subgroups and for each subgroup is necessary a facilitator.

Each participant is instructed to perform a task using the prototype, and for each interface used by the participant one SAM is completed, this step is necessary to assess the visceral level of interaction. Every participant interaction with the prototype should be recorded for the analysis of behavioral level of interaction among the variables that can be analyzed are the number of clicks/touches, errors in the interaction, the time performing the task, attention/interest of participants, the number of screens visited, among other variables.

After all participants in the subgroup use the prototype, they are asked to discuss among themselves about the experience of using the prototype, and then fill out one SAM, here called SAM-Synthesis to assess the reflective level of interaction.

With the completion of the application of the evaluation is necessary to synthesize the data to collect evidence. At this stage, for each screen of the system is added to the amount of votes positive, neutral and negative. Then, the SAM-Synthesis is also added and the result is used to check the sense of “like/dislike” group in relation to the object. With the data in hands it is possible to do the analysis/reflections about the results and classify the screens showing the higher and lower acceptability.


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