I’d like to continue a comment about bringing emotion into the design process because I think it deserves its own post. Kip said:

Design has some valuable roots in its ties with emotion, but in many ways we’ve lost touch. Can we bring a sophisticated discussion of “emotion” back on the table and include it in our design process?

I don’t know if we’ve lost touch or if emotion has been neglected in the bustle of quickly changing technology and products. But I think we can do more to bring emotion into the process. There might be an expectation that design is by default about emotion, and it does not need much attention.

Looking at my Basic Interaction design syllabus, emphasis is placed on the design process and methods. Although some of the methods, like personas and narrative scenarios are supposed to help get at the motivations and the experience, and by extension, the emotions. Video sketching is another method that I think helps to understand what the emotional aspects of the product might be like. Though we typically talk about video sketching as being about the experience, which leads me to ponder the relationship of emotion and experience in design (thesis paper topic for some grad student?).

I remember a recent comment about “shit in, shit out” in regards to the design process, which I took to mean you get what you bring into it. If you aren’t excited about the design process or problem, for example, your solution will not be very exciting. Perhaps if you are not emotional or consider emotion throughout the process, emotion will not be a strong component of your solution.

Last semester, when Kip and I were working on our TSA service design project, we spent a lot of time considering the emotional aspect of going through airport security. Taking lots of photos of people in context and having those photos surround us during design meetings really helped keep emotion at the forefront of our discussions. Though it also helped that we are both very aware of and keen to recognize the role of emotion in design.

Kip at the board

Another suggestion I heard last summer at Adaptive Path came from Dan Saffer, who suggested considering the aesthetics sooner using an image, music, or word. This is similar to my experience with the TSA project, where we referred to certain photos to constantly remind us of the emotions involved currently and those we wanted the end result to embody.