Emotion and user experience

Emotional? A couple of weeks back, I was browsing Twitter when an interesting tweet caught my eye:

Any thoughts on emotionally engaging #ux on mobile devices?

I paused, re-read the tweet, and the gears in my brain started turning. I began wondering about emotionally engaging UX. As I tried to wrap my head around the idea, two thoughts came to my head: Is it necessary? and Is it possible?.

While I realize that a number of people are in love with their gadgets, is that love — that emotional connection — really for the user experience or is for what the gadgets do for them?

Being a realist

The things that we use are just that. Things. They help us perform tasks. They help us have a bit of fun. They can be useful. But an emotional bond? That’s taking things a tad too far, methinks.

The whole concept of emotionally engaging UX is, to me anyway, sort of like story. Just as I don’t think that everything needs or is begging for a story, I don’t think a device or application needs an emotional appeal.

User experience, as I understand it, is about making things easier to do and more seamless for people when then use an application or device. The fewest number of clicks or swipes or taps. Making things easy to find. And I know that’s definitely not easy.

But you don’t need that emotional content. That sounds too much like a marketing hook for my tastes.

Good user experience appeals to my left brain, believe it or not. It eases the burden on my brain and helps make me a little more efficient. Or, at the very least, helps me carry out tasks faster. Appealing to my heart isn’t required.

Thoughts? As always, comments are welcome.

Photo credit: Paul Moore from Photoxpress