Without even thinking about it every product, service and device impacts you. Sure it provides it’s purpose and impacts you in that way, but it goes much further than that, it can leave you with specific emotions depending on if it can or cannot fulfill your needs. Thinking about the emotional impact of products, services and devices is an important part of user experience. I broke down three examples of my own experiences with products, services and devices to explain further.
Before I begin I’ll clarify feelings vs. needs. Feelings is the emotional state you find yourself in after interacting with a product, service or device. These feelings can be things like happiness, sadness, frustration, fear, joyfulness etc. Needs is what using the product, service or device should be fulfilling. For example if I need to eat but don’t have time to cook or have anything in my refrigerator, a fast food restaurant will fill my need. Needs can be things like sustenance, as mentioned above or purpose, beauty, compassion, honesty, etc.
So, jumping in first up is my products example and for this I’m going to choose my Fjallraven backpack. My backpack makes me feel confident and joyful because it meets my need for self expression and independence. I really like this backpack because it’s different and it speaks to my personal style. This backpack makes me feel unique and confident when I wear it, and gives people a little glimpse into who I am.
For my services example I’m going to choose my local public library. My local public library makes me feel delighted and inspired because it meets my need for competence and stimulation. I feel this way because I recently found myself with a lot of down time and wanted to do something intellectually stimulating rather than staring at my phone. Also I love to read but found purchasing new books was starting to get too expensive. I decided to get my first library card so I could simultaneously save money, learn, get inspired and have fun.
Lastly for my device I’m going to choose my printer. My printer makes me feel exasperated and aggravated because my need for cooperation and competence was not being met. I feel this way because it every time I need to print something it takes my printer a very long time to turn on and then perform the long ordeal of “printer maintenance”. I can never print anything quickly if I’m in a rush and I must make sure that all my ink is full because otherwise it refuses to print at all. This makes me think ahead and stay on top of my printing needs.
As I mentioned above knowing these feelings from consumers is incredibly important in user experience. For example since I love my uncommon backpack design because it lets me express my individuality, designers now know that there is a market for different looking designs. Another example would be with my printer, since I expressed how it takes a long time to turn on and I have problems with the ink, competitors can take that information and create a printer without those faults to get me to switch brands.