Tag Archives: Aarron Walter

Key lessons from Designing for Emotion

I recently read Aarron Walter’s book Designing for Emotion.

Walter is the lead user experience designer for MailChimp where he is the chief responsible for making the online e-mail campaign program’s interfaces more human.

As someone fascinated by the psychology of the things we do, I rushed through this book at an eager pace.

My key lessons from the book include:

  • It is easy in the rush of daily business to build what Walter calls “fast and cheap sites with no reverence for the craft or the relationship we build with our audience.” Take the time to develop a solid strategy before diving into the design just to get a job out the door.
  • Design for humans and the human condition. For example, attention is finite and we are running on low supply. Make it easy for visitors to your website to subconsciously identify patterns and as a result see predictable user behaviour and an ability to retain the information on your site.
  • Give users/visitors freedom and don’t oblige them to fit into a mould. Walter draws upon the example of how Twitter gave users the option to continue using the old interface for as long as it was available. By empowering users of your service to choose for themselves you are automatically changing their tone of their response. This, according to Walter, is companies saying. “You may.. instead of “You must…” You only have to look at the outcries when Facebook makes changes to their interface to see how this works.
  • By employing good design and positive experiences consistently from the start you can build enough of a reputation that when disaster strikes, as it inevitably will, your community will forgive you. Similarly, when disaster strikes be brave and transparent enough to admit to the mistake and ask your community for forgiveness.
  • Know that not every customer, client or viewer of your website is the right fit for your company. It is ‘OK’ to admit this.
  • Make the experience as frictionless as possible. This seems obvious, but as exemplified by this great blog post by Nick Crocker when trying to sign up for The Australian’s paywall service, it is easy to forget that users want the least resistance to the end goal as possible.
Excerpt from Nick Crocker's article "The Australian Shoots Itself In The Foot"

Remember:

We’re not just designing pages. We’re designing human experiences. Like the visionaries of the Arts and Crafts movement, we know that preserving the human touch and showing ourselves in our work isn’t optional: it’s essential” - Aarron Walter

 

You can purchase the book from A Book Apart here as an e-book or hard copy.

Yours in psychology,

Justine.