Existing design work treats emotion as a snapshot — distinct, moment-based — when real emotion is a moving target that progresses over time. What is your product’s core emotion? When beginning, sinking into, and finally leaving your experience, what states are you evoking in your user, and in what order? Why do we call them “users”, and what starkness of experience fills our foundational assumption space as a result? When we begin to detect what a user is feeling across time in a product experience (hint: even the latest science on this admits it’s really hard), it’s like seeing color for the first time: dynamic ranges that flow across your product landscape, palettes that differ between users, discords and harmonies as user action intersects with intent. Emergence! Here we’ll put a magnifying glass on that elusive emotional progression, explore how the atomic mechanical actions of interaction evoke specific corresponding emotions (which linger on the mind-palate), and suggest a new way of looking at the designer’s toolset when it comes to interactive design.
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