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How emotional synergy in design can transform your user experience ?

Portrait Felipe Restrepo
Felipe Restrepo
10 min read

Are you relying on data-driven usability testing alone? Did you realize that positive emotional connections with consumers can yield big rewards for your business?

Are you relying on data-driven usability testing alone? Did you realize that positive emotional connections with consumers can yield big rewards for your business? While fact gathering and comparisons are important, a study by Harvard says that 95% of people buy based on emotions.

This is where emotional-driven testing and design come in. While numbers and scientific data are still important, we can use emotional feedback to create a more well-rounded product.

Emotion also influences consumer loyalty and the quality of the customer journey across all channels. Ensure that your brand image reflects the feelings you want customers to experience when interacting with your digital product or services.

What is Emotion-Driven Design?

Emotional design is a methodology that has been around for decades but only recently has gained the attention of website designers and developers.

An emotionally driven approach requires understanding the users' goals, motivations, expectations, and attitudes to determine which emotions are most suitable for achieving those goals.

It's about creating engagement with your product through experiences rather than features. When done correctly, emotion-driven design can result in a product that feels more human and natural to the user.

Emotion-driven design is not about adding emotions for the sake of it, but rather finding the right emotions to evoke the correct response from the user.

Discover how emotional design affects choices

If you're used to dealing with data-driven design, you may wonder why you should consider emotional design and testing into your routine.

In simple terms, emotions are an inherent part of human nature; they are what it means to be human. Don't miss out on something as fundamental as that. Emotion-driven design is a way to lead the decision process through emotions rather than cold hard logic; it engages on a deeper level.

By creating a positive emotional experience for your visitors, your website becomes a memorable and comfortable place for them to use and return to.

The results? When implemented properly, lifelong loyal customers who buy your products and services will also promote them.

How is Emotional Design Different from Data-Driven Design?

First, let's compare the two design methodologies and how each approach affects the user experience.

Emotional Design Defined

Emotional design is all about creating an emotional connection with your customers. The focus is on understanding your customer's emotions and what you want them to feel. It's more creative and considers the user's feelings and responses.

Data-Driven Design Defined

On the other hand, data-driven design is all about optimizing for conversions - figuring out what data will help you achieve your goals and using that data to make design decisions. It's more analytical and relies on measurable data.

Data-driven design is essential because we need hard data to back up our decisions. However, relying too much on the numbers can often lead to designs that don't resonate with users.

Comparing the Two

Emotional design can create a better user experience by understanding what motivates people and helping them accomplish their tasks. It's more of an art than a science, while data-driven design can be very scientific and analytical depending on the context.

This type of design helps create better experiences for your customers by making them feel special. Personalized products or services that cater to your customer's emotions make you stand out from competitors who focus solely on the numbers.

In contrast, data-driven design focuses on short-term metrics such as clicks, conversions, etc., which can help optimize a website or product but don't always create a great long-term user experience.

When choosing the right design approach, it's essential to understand your company's goals and how you want your customers to feel.

Testing Human-Centered Design

There is no specific formula for emotion-driven design, here are three human-centred design elements to look for. Your goal is to create experiences that evoke a dopamine response from your users, triggering positive emotions.

One: Aim for Uniqueness

A unique, creative, or unusual design will always be more interesting. In addition to being memorable, it can also help you stand out from your competition as the "interesting" product in the marketplace.

Two: Use Empathy

When a designer uses empathy in the process, they are creating for the user. Empathy is key to understanding how people feel and what motivates them. It's not about guessing what people want but rather taking the time to understand their needs.

The CEO of IDEO says, "Design is about empathy and understanding people. It's meaningless without an understanding of what others see, feel, and experience."

Three: Apply Aesthetic Appeal

As with anything in life, people appreciate beauty. A product or service that looks good will always generate more interest than one that doesn't. People are inclined to think that things that look better will function better, even if they don't.

Perceived usability and value are a real thing, as in the old saying, "It's all in the packaging." This is especially true with a digital products since people are bombarded with visuals online.

Quantitative and Qualitative Working Together

Next, consider quantitative and qualitative testing methodologies. They both have their place. Use them in conjunction for the best results.

The first, quantitative data, gathers numerical data through surveys, interviews, and website user testing. Relating to the data-driven design, it allows businesses to see what people are saying about their products or services measurably.

The second type of data that we get from testing is qualitative. This refers to the experience when interacting with brands: emotional design. Emotional data may be quantified and studied - they operate in tandem. User research and product testing are effective in gauging the emotional impact of the product right from the start.

Emotional responses to brands are difficult to measure because they often fall outside the scope of standard research practice, but businesses should still pay attention.

That leads to our next point, using positive emotions to create a better user experience.

Emotions As a Factor to Improve User Experience

The most successful designs give users an experience that elicits an emotional response. Experience plus emotions is the formula needed to make sure they remember it.

Consider the following design elements while developing for a positive user experience:

Behavioral Design: affects our behaviour as our expectations change.

Behavioural can work as a feedback loop, vital for emotional design. Emotional feedback loops help to understand the user's emotional state and what they want out of the product.

It's worth noting that unpleasant events concentrate the mind on what's wrong; they narrow thought processes and make people anxious and tense. When this happens, expectations take a turn for the worse.

Visceral Design: basic instinctual reactions.

Visceral design is all about appealing to our basic instincts and emotions. It's all about creating an immediate emotional response, and it's often very visual in nature.

It uses intense colours, shapes, and images to create a bold and memorable experience. By using visceral design, you can quickly get your message across and make an impression on your audience.

For example, creating a feeling of safety and trust within an investment app design.

Reflective Design: consciously reviewing the past or future.

Reflective is a type of emotional design used to review the past and form future predictions. The reflective design includes recollecting events that may have been traumatic or intense.

The human mind remembers these events with a high degree of clarity, a starting point for emotional design.

This human-centred design methodology often includes narratives, interactive devices, and visualizations to help us process memories from our past or visualize what we want for our future.

Creating An Emotional Connection with Customers

An effective way to an emotional connection is by appealing to a user's sense of self-identity with questions like:

  • What do you like about yourself?
  • What would you change about yourself if you could?
  • What do your friends think of your identity?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What makes you happy?
  • How do you want to feel?

Another way is by appealing to their emotions. You can do this in many ways, such as:

  • Using positive reinforcement
  • Making the user feel in control
  • Creating an immersive experience
  • Personalizing the interaction
  • Making the user feel special

Now, let's look at some companies that make emotional design look easy.

Emotional Design Success Stories

We should consider using emotional design for reasons such as:

  • We want to create a connection with users, so they'll remember our brand
  • To improve the usability of our product or service by increasing engagement and loyalty
  • Changing how people feel about themselves, such as through self-improvement experiences
  • To encourage social interactions between customers and create free word-of-mouth marketing

Use emotional design to make a lasting impression on users and provide them with an unforgettable experience.

Examples of companies that excel in these principles are Nike, Apple, Google, and Facebook. They're at the forefront of society and for a good reason.


Nike designs their products in a way that connects with its customers emotionally, making it easy for customers to show off their personalities with what they wear. "A basic design is always functional, but a great one will also say something." - Tinker Hatfield, Nike shoe designer


From its very beginning, Apple has focused on creating an emotional connection with its customers. Not only do they make high-quality functional products, but Apple's aesthetics also have quality written all over them.

Apple's design is consistent, clean, and simple - reflecting what a buyer can expect while using an Apple product. According to Steve Jobs, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them."


Like Apple, Google has consistently emphasized using emotional design principles to connect with its customers. You can see it throughout all aspects of the Google experience, from search results to the layout of their products.

One example is personalizing your search results based on your previous activity. It gives you a sense that Google knows and understands you as an individual.


Facebook also uses emotional design extensively to create connections with its users. One example of this is the reactions feature. Facebook wants to connect with its users on a deeper level and empower them to share their feelings.

Another example is Facebook's Messenger app for children under 13 years old. It was essential to create an emotionally resonant design.

In Conclusion

Let's face it; people are not rational decision-makers. They often use emotions to guide decisions of all kinds, including purchasing decisions. Because of this, it's incredibly ineffective to only focus on data and the user's end goal.

Users will frequently go against their objectives in favor of a more emotional experience.

The Bottom line: emotions drive human behavior.

Companies can tap into these needs during their website development process by:

  1. Understanding their consumers' emotions
  2. Using compelling visuals in the product's messaging to support them

Don't take emotional design lightly. It's a critical aspect of user experience.

Although both data-driven and emotional design are essential, human-centered design helps companies create an emotional connection with their customers. The relationship lasts longer than data-driven designs can alone.

We're not suggesting that the quantitative UX testing process has no place in website design, but merely that it's less impactful than emotional design.

You can build an exciting and long-lasting website by testing and following the tips and recommendations above.