Emotional design in industrial products and services
In digital marketing, the concept of emotional design has often been linked to goods and services focused on the B2C sector. Whether with electronic equipment, vehicles, mobile applications..., etc. However, it has recently gained relevance in the field of industrial products and services.
Connecting with users on a deeper level
Even though industrial goods and services (heavy machinery, construction devices, specialized tools, energy systems, etc.) are not aimed at the general public, emotions are still an important factor in their design and user experience.
Emotional design in industrial products and services is based on the idea that users also have emotional needs when interacting with such products.
Since these products and services are used for extended periods of time, it is essential to understand emotional needs and expectations in order to design products that generate a deep connection and can generate appropriate emotional responses in users.
User experience tailored to the customer
Ergonomics is a fundamental aspect in the emotional design of industrial products and services. The creation of intuitive interfaces and controls, as well as comfort and a feeling of safety in use, are essential to generate positive emotions in the industrial consumer.
Donald Norman and the three levels of emotional design
Don Norman was responsible for devising and popularising the notion of emotional design. He achieved this through his publication Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Loathe) Everyday Objects, in which he presents the three levels of emotional design:
The first level, also known as the visceral level, is the most fundamental in terms of emotional design. This level is intrinsically linked to instincts and represents the first reaction a person experiences when interacting with an object or product for the first time.
Since this is the first emotional reaction, it is not always consciously perceived and is not always controlled. At this level, aspects such as form, psychological ideas of colour, contrasts and contours are of crucial importance.
In this sense, design types with saturated and vibrant colours tend to attract more attention, as do objects that lack a clear organization and present shapes without defined contours or patterns.
It is a reality that the aesthetics of a product at this first level can be a determining factor in achieving a sale, even over and above really important aspects such as usability and the quality of the product itself.
In fact, the more visceral a product is, the more likely users are to consider that it works optimally, even if this is not always true.
The next level in emotional design is the behavioural level. This is a process that occurs completely unconsciously and, at the same time, it is one of the levels that has the most influence on the decisions we make in our daily lives.
The behavioural level is closely related to the user-friendliness of a product. That is, the pleasure we experience when we use it. When we perceive that we have control over the product, we feel more identified with it.
However, it is not only about assessing ease of use, but this level also relates to the pleasure of being able to carry out a task completely and smoothly.
Therefore, behavioural design focuses on making us feel in control, which implies that we get effective responses and use the product in an understandable and easy way.
The third and final level of emotional design is the reflexive level. According to Dan Norman, this level focuses on the superego, a part of our mind that is constantly aware of everything, even though it has no direct control over our actions. This level influences, for example, how we perceive ourselves in relation to others.
When we imagine how other people see us, we tend to buy products that match that image and are associated with a certain status. We then look for products that reinforce our image and social position.
Having seen Don Norman's three levels of emotional design, there are a number of ways to leverage them to get the best results in the marketplace.
This is especially useful for engaging your target audience and getting them to make a purchase, or in the case of digital marketing, to generate traffic, get leads and increase conversions.
The overall user experience is also important, including aspects such as after-sales service, availability of spare parts, technical support and ease of maintenance.
An emotional approach to these aspects can build trust and peace of mind, strengthening the relationship between supplier and customer.
Conclusions on emotional design
Emotional design can be used in the branding and communication of industrial products and services to generate a deeper connection with users through the evocation of emotions.
A strong narrative, an appealing visual identity and clear communication can influence the perception and the emotional relationship that users have with the brand.
In the field of industrial services such as consulting, training, maintenance and project management, emotional design plays a crucial role. Although these services can be highly technical and complex, it is essential to take into account the emotions and experiences of customers when interacting with them.
Emotional design is fundamental to establish a deeper connection with users and provide a pleasurable experience in industrial products and services.
By implementing ergonomic, aesthetic and quality design, positive emotions can be aroused and the relationship between users and industrial products or services can be strengthened.