A person’s emotional state can directly affect the way they interact with others and with design. A person who is emotionally frustrated by managing a toddler throwing a tantrum will likely have a hard time operating a complex screen-based user interface that requires attention to run. Mood affects perception. A person in a bad mood may feel that cereal boxes are harder to open, the traffic driving to work is unbearable, and office doors jam more often than usual.

Sometimes, the purpose of a design outcome is to facilitate a specific mood. For example, a place for spiritual worship is often designed to create a sense of awe and quiet meditation. These spaces are designed to alter a person’s initial mood, which could be weariness or feeling overworked. When designers consider people’s initial moods, they can effectively design products, services, and systems to address these emotional states directly. In this example, experience design teams could create objects to help people transition into a different mood. In this case, the design could take the form of lighting design to give the room a dramatic sense of mystery, murals that depict ancient imagery, and sound design to create a din of ethereal sounds that feel other-worldly.

Researching Mood

Researching mood can reveal people’s emotional states when they use products, services, and systems. Because a person’s mood can override rational thought and often frames their perceptions, researching mood helps designers know ways to create design outcomes that best function within these experience design scenes. This research can also help designers know what mood people prefer when completing particular activities.

Questions to Ask

  • What is the optimal emotional state for the activity?
  • What sensory-rich objects and messaging can facilitate desired emotions?

Look For

  • Words people express about their mood
  • Body language and gestures



Updated: June 22, 2024 7:43 am
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