Regardless of the platform, user and industry you design software for, we have all discussed at length the end result of interacting with our products. If you are new to a project, the emotions associated are usually negative. Something being built from the ground up by your team is often viewed in a positive light.
The word “frustration” is used a lot today because there is always a user who doesn’t use our stuff the way we designed it. There was once a time where I couldn’t read a review without seeing “underwhelmed”.
As Seth Godin points out in this very succinct post, however, those words are just masking the only emotions a product can elicit from a user. Six to be precise: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise.
I think that it’s easy to elicit negative feelings from your users. Often, the first-adopters can be just as much of a pain as they can be a blessing. When they show up to try your app out, you hear about it when you get something wrong.
The trick is, with mass consumer products, to mine the positive. You’ll notice in the list of six there is only one that is specifically a positive emotion. Surprise can turn into positive or negative, so I’m not counting it. Out of the six possible results, only happiness exists to bring five stars.
Makes me wonder how we turn the other five around. Is happiness the only option for strategy?