The 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). Continue reading