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Rules of Good DesignThe Emotional Levels of Design
Don Norman proposes that design encompasses three levels of emotion that ameliorate the effects of product flaws engendering inspiration and product loyalty in spite of it – primarily through good design. Essentially, good design may more than compensate for marginal product performance (though superior performance typically surpasses good design of inferior products over time).

The first of the emotional levels, visceral, emphasizes things we subconsciously like or gravitate toward; colors, patterns or shapes. The second level, behavioral, also acting upon the subconscious, makes the user feel empowered through use of the product. The third level, reflective, creates the sense of visceral extension of the individual through use of the product. Good design ‘paralyzes’ aspects of the conscious mind in helping it suspend disbelief in focusing on the product’s emotional attributes rather than functionality (or lack thereof) whereas flawed design links the user to perceived negative attributes in observers where disbelief abounds (where emotion fails to attach).

Insightful and somewhat amusing, Don Norman shares his insights on the the psychology behind good design, what it means and how it supports – even accelerates – flawed products.

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Good Design Makes People Happy
From 2003, this twelve minute video captures design critic Don Norman turning his acerbic eye toward emotional design evoking happiness, frivolity and joy. His mantra of “good design makes people happy” has merit. He covers the emotional levers required in any design that must be understood for it to transcend the banal.

Don Norman assumes the role of a forensic scientist in studying the interaction of consumers with a modern, wired world. His work here appears whimsical and insightful, provoking curiosity in the observer in understanding how we close the gap between consumers and products in deriving satisfaction.

Organizations seeking to gain competitive advantage through introduction of new products and services, improve chances of both penetration and retention through better management of consumer perception in innovation.

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