Bruce Temkin: Infuse Emotion Into Experience Design as Customer Experience Matters

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October 31, 2009

Posted by Bruce Temkin

The Web is becoming an increasingly important channel for companies, yet online experiences leave a lot to be desired. Our research shows that most sites have poor usability and they don’t reinforce key brand attributes. That’s why I worked with Ron Rogowski (the primary author) on a research report that created a concept called Emotional Experience Design, which we define as:

Creating interactions that engage users by catering to their emotional needs.

Emotional Experience Design is quite different from today’s functional design:

Forrester Research graphic about Emotional Experience Design

To apply Emotional Experience Design, firms must:

  1. Address customers’ real goals. People may come to a Web site to get service or buy a product, but that’s typically not the beginning or culmination of their journey. The mother of a newborn with stomach problems isn’t going to a site for information about medication; she’s looking for a way to bring comfort to her baby — and maybe get a little relief for herself. If firms want to engage customers, their sites must cater to these deeper customer needs..
  2. Develop a coherent personality. Web sites can feel sterile — devoid of a brand’s human characteristics, which are often apparent in other channels. But firms need their online experiences to do even more than just reinforce their brands; the experiences should enrich them. How? By developing a coherent, consistent personality that customers can easily recognize throughout all interactions.
  3. Engage a mix of senses. Over reliance on text and imagery makes many sites indistinguishable from competitors. Interestingly, most people can’t remember the content of Intel’s commercials, but they can easily imitate the Intel sound.While Web experiences don’t allow users to taste or smell objects, they can and absolutely should engage users’ senses of sight, hearing, and even touch.
This post is recommended for you  If the end of Customer Experience, UX and Service Design is near? Deal with it.

The bottom line: It’s time to make emotional connections online.


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7 thoughts on “Bruce Temkin: Infuse Emotion Into Experience Design as Customer Experience Matters

  1. Very interesting, it has a lot of overlap with the concepts we have been working on the last years at SusaGroup. I am very happy to see that the need for insights in emotional experience is also entering the interaction design field. For more information on our tools and method for measuring, understanding and implementing emotion in the design process, visit

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