Affective Interaction Design

Posted on December 4, 2008 by

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Well, this is just cool…

I’ve tossed some thoughts around in the last 10 months about the use of color, typography, font face, dynamic icons, animations, and even sound as they could all be used in digital history sites to help convey historical concepts. I’m even contemplating doing something with this as my overall project in the digital rhetoric course that I’m taking in the Spring semester. Well dog-gone if I didn’t stumble across something tonight that helped put a label on my growing obsession.

In the process of studying for my final for the interaction design course, I took a little virtual walk (needless to say, I can be easily distracted at times) on the Web. Just for the heck of it, I plugged “interaction design” into the search engine and, of course, I figured that I would check out what Wikipedia had to say about it. Pretty much in line with my studying for the evening, so hopefully that’s a sign I know what I’m talking about and will do well on the exam tomorrow… but I digress… the really cool thing about looking at the Wikipedia page was that, near the end, there were a couple of paragraphs on “aspects of interaction design.” One covered social interaction design and that seemed to make sense enough… but the other covered something called “affective interaction design” and WHAM! It lined-up pretty close to the stuff I’ve been thinking about for the last 10 months. The paragraph follows…

Throughout the process of interaction design, designers must be aware of key aspects in their designs that influence emotional responses in target users. The need for products to convey positive emotions and avoid negative ones is critical to product success. These aspects include positive, negative, motivational, learning, creative, social and persuasive influences to name a few. One method that can help convey such aspects is the use of expressive interfaces. In software, for example, the use of dynamic icons, animations and sound can help communicate a state of operation, creating a sense of interactivity and feedback. Interface aspects such as fonts, color pallet, and graphical layouts can also influence an interface’s perceived effectiveness. Studies have shown that affective aspects can affect a user’s perception of usability.

Now I just need to look around a bit more to see what else is out there on “affective digital design.” From a quick Google search, it appears that there are some weightier resources out there. I’m curious to see how I might apply some of the principles in a digital history project.

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Posted in: Digital History