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Designing for Emotion

(A Book Apart #5)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,565 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Make your users fall in love with your site via the precepts packed into this brief, charming book by MailChimp user experience design lead Aarron Walter. From classic psychology to case studies, highbrow concepts to common sense, Designing for Emotion demonstrates accessible strategies and memorable methods to help you make a human connection through design.
Paperback, 104 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by A Book Apart (first published January 1st 2011)
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Responsive Web Design by Ethan MarcotteDesigning for Emotion by Aarron WalterHTML5 for Web Designers by Jeremy KeithMobile First by Luke WroblewskiCSS3 For Web Designers by Dan Cederholm
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Jason Zimdars
Oct 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
I was very much looking forward to this book but I came away disappointed. I'm a big fan of what MailChimp is doing. Their marketing is excellent and the customer resources are a model for us all. I can't think of a better example of a company putting so much effort into making their customers successful. So it is not without a healthy amount of respect for the author that I offer this review.

From the start I was left with a fuzzy definition of what really constitutes emotional design in the min
Feb 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
This has not aged well. Seven years is a long time in digital design — when this was published, “product design” was limited to industrial designers making physical products. Dated aesthetics in screenshots are easy to skip over since I know to expect quality writing from A Book Apart publications.

Each chapter has numerous real-world examples on how to help your users have an emotional connection with your site/product. The emotional connection comes from the site/product having a personality t
Ahmad hosseini
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: web
It is a concise and short book but it led me to a look at the design of the site and the software from another perspective. It is a fantastic book on how design psychology influences how we understand, relate and desire software, websites and even everyday objects. It is full of great examples and it just gets you inspired to think of what emotion I want to convey before you start a new project!
This sentence shows a summary of the content of the book:
“Emotional design isn’t just about copy, phot
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
Fantastic short book on the importance of emotion in design. While I've always been a big fan of design, this book helped me think about it in the context of emotion, which I had never really thought about before. It makes me want to do some of that user analysis immediately! Includes great case studies and solid data, which is often necessary to push for these kinds of changes. A plus: unlike some other books in the series, this content is unlikely to go out-of-date any time soon.

Highly recomme
Nick Lo
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
I bought this bundled with the other Book Apart book Mobile First which is the one I actually wanted to read so with that context in mind, I'll give a brief review.

It's a light read and I skimmed a lot as, ironically, considering the topic is all about engagement, I didn't really connect with a lot of it. It felt a bit like the concept of "emotional" design led the book more than the actual evidence of the content did. It began to feel like someone talking really quickly at me hoping that if the
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is an example of when brevity strikes back. This book, while brief and an enjoyable is lacking in substance.

Emotional design or the topic of emotion and design is often tackled from a subjective perspective by known experts. These perspectives while interesting and often fresh are often lacking of the foundations to explain just why emotions matter so much, leaving the authors preaching to the choir and lacking the empirical perspective.

I was hoping this book would cover the science o
Dave Emmett
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: designers
Where the earlier A Book Apart books focused on tangible, tactical skills that could be incorporated into our design workflows, I found this one to be much more of a call to arms to re-evaluate the fundamentals of how we think about what it means to design interfaces.

The part that really gets me excited is the integration of all elements of a product together to craft an experience that delights people. Mailchimp's interface is great, but it would be nothing without the copy writing, which woul
Megan Carpenter
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great book to get you started thinking about emotion in design. It walks you thought the options, and whether emotion is really right for your next website. While it doesn't give you all the answers, it gives you plenty to start thinking about the appropriate answers, because, let's face it, web design is not a one size fits all career. Each site will need it's own individual answer. ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: web-design
Quick and inspiring Read about how the focus on emotions and a persona in the design helps users have better and more enjoyable user experience ,really very effective book that inspired me with tons of ideas for design .A Must-Read for Designers :)
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter, which is about delighting your audience through emotional design.  The book oozes with personality and was really hard to put down - in fact, I read the entire book in one night.  It's full of real world examples that help demonstrate the principles he discusses.  Although it was released in 2011 and some of the examples are a bit dated, I think the underlying principles hold true. Here are my notes:

Emotional design uses psychology and craftsmanship
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Aarron Walter has added another excellent book to the A Book Apart series, which are quickly becoming must-reads for designers in the digital age.

Emotional Design was a great reminder that sometimes designing engaging content gets lost in the midst of cumbersome requirements documents, challenging client relationships, or aggressive deadlines. The book made we want to bring more surprise, delight, or whimsy into my design work, purposefully trying to make a connection with another person.
John Jullies Palma
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A must read for designers not just for the world wide web.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, e-book
I put off reading this book for a long time because I thought it was about designing for emotional situations. Shows what kind of reading comprehension I've got! It's actually about designing a product or interface to resonate with its own emotion - giving your product a personality and voice and tone.

As a UX Designer, it invites me to think of different interactions that my designs can have with our users - from silly and playful to sincere and human. It talks about techniques for researching
Bernardo Vailati
Usually I very much enjoy the breviety of A Book Apart publications, but this one seemed just a bit too shallow.

I'm a huge fan of Mailchimp and the work of emotional design and branding Aarron Walter did there, and was looking forward to understand what were his references and methods. What I found instead, was a loose list of design examples (that now feel quite dated) and bits ultra-pop-psichology threw in as theoretical explanation.

All and all useful, but could just as well have been a Mediu
Aug 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
For such a short book, I was surprised there wasn't more information in it. There are useful points and examples, to be sure, but I expected a lot less fluff. For example, the first chapter makes the case for why Emotional design is important, but this argument is peppered throughout the book, so the first chapter is redundant and offers nothing of value. I would say the material in this book could be condensed into a chapter of a larger scoped book. ...more
Andy Merskin
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it overall. The examples are great! I would have appreciated more depth to the process of creating a persona to represent a brand. What methods are used to gather the personalities and vibe of a user base so a brand persona can properly be developed?

What other challenges or constraints should we expect in that creation process?
A bit dated, but still some good points. A design persona can be a useful way of framing design work, but having seen so many chatty designs fail at nuance I find myself opposed to going as far as having the interface act "human". I also question whether some of the short-term "delight" generators mentioned here translated into long-term success. But the other points were well taken. ...more
Gaby Prado
It felt good when it came out, lots of interesting stuff to take into account. But cleaning my digital bookshelf in 2021 and came across it, and found it too wordy, too all over the place. The examples have not aged well.
In this topic I would recommend other books that have stood better the test of time, and are also clearer to read.
Madhu Sudhan
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick read you can complete in a couple of hours. Even though the author sited great examples, I feel most of the content is outdated but the principles are fresh. If you are an avid reader of design articles you might see most of the content boring.

Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A short and concise book that all ui/ux designers should read. My favorite part was where he used Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need to explain how to design for users and the importance of making our designs pleasurable which satisfys the top 2 on the hierarcy:Esteem and then self actualization.
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think every designer needs to read this book! Is full of great examples and it just gets you inspired to think of what emotion I want to convey before you start a new project!
Yana Sanko
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
good starting point for someone not familiar with the concept, but might be boring for anyone who got the general idea already
Sarah Lashinsky
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
Thoughtful, witty, and succinct, Walter brings a warm glow to the designer's workflow. Note to self: re-read annually! ...more
Manas Saloi
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book along with Difference and Emotional Design are probably the 3 best books on designing products which users have an emotional attachment too.

Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Meh. Vaguely interesting but the author thinks the answer to creating emotional design is done strictly by injecting humor, cuteness, and whimsy. While this works for certain applications, it is not the best approach for all situations. Emotion is about connecting on a human, personal level. Sometimes this is done in a sober or serious way, other times with fun and casualness. It's important to recognize the proper tone and develop the best strategy to connect to the user's experiences and emoti ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Too old. This hasn't aged well and felt like just a bunch of case studies. ...more
Eli Hinze
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book makes so many great points that are great for a relative UX newbie like me. Plus it includes concrete examples of everything!
Iva Keranova
Great read
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
A good primer for design psychology but doesn’t go into enough detail.
Marco Sansalone
May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Some example is now a bit outdated but still there is kind of interesting reading wit some useful content.
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