Emotional design in UX: Steps to apply it to your business

Back Emotional design in UX: Steps to apply it to your business

How important are emotions for determining the design process along with the customer journey?

Humans are not only moved by their rational thoughts but also by their emotions and are constantly looking for products or experiences that make them feel something or help them understand the relationship with the environment. According to that, emotional design can be understood as the way some products are capable of making people feel; it aims to create an impact on the user, by giving them a memorable experience that eventually impacts purchase behavior.

Types of emotions

Nowadays, to create more meaningful experiences, personalization is crucial and more needed every day. People are always looking for deep connections, for products that make them feel something. The design thinking expert, Don Norman, considers 3 types of emotions, described as:

Visceral emotions

This one is the basis of emotional response, it's inward, doesn't need too much thinking, and can also be understood as the first impression.

Behavioral emotions

Users are looking for ease of use and they are discovering if a product is intuitive, usable, they interpret how it's supposed to work, always looking for easier and better solutions for their needs. If it's easy to use, the users will develop positive emotions.

Reflective emotions

This type is the most conscious one; here is where users evaluate the pros and the cons of the whole experience by thinking back on the interactions they just had, and then, evaluate the impression they had about it, so they can jump to conclusions about how they feel in relation to the product. Is it positive?

Although the development of emotions and feelings around a product is a must in the UX experiences, it's also important to mention the product needs to be usable, adaptative, and functional. Balance is a primary factor to take into account when designing due to the benefits or damage it can actually cause to a brand.

Emotional design applied to UX

To draft an emotional design strategy it is important to define the reactions that are expected to evoke to users, taking into consideration the following elements:


It answers the questions related to how the product is working, and if it's serving the main objective it was created for.


It’s important project designers aim to understand the user and build from there a meaningful relationship, so their feelings can be taken into consideration. By personalizing the communication, micro-interactions could empower the user journey.


The product must be reliable in delivering the functions it's meant for. In this step,, consistency is key so the users begin to see the platform as something familiar.


It's all about how easy it's to use the product or the digital platform and it's key to assure that even if the user changes device, he continues to have access. 

Emotional response:

It's all about how the user feels before, during, and after using the product.

It's important to not only think about the digital product but primarily about the person who is going to use it, considering how he feels, what he sees and what can be improved in order to enhance the experience