Emotional design: an investigation into designers' perceptions of incorporating emotions in software
Gutica, Mirela (Mirela Gutica (Mirela_Gutica)) (author)
© Mirela Gutica, 2008
In my teaching and software development practice, I realized that most applications with human-computer interaction do not respond to usersâ emotional needs. The dualism of reason and emotion as two fairly opposite entities that dominated Western philosophy was also reflected in software design. Computing was originally intended to provide applications for military and industrial activities and was primarily associated with cognition and rationality. Today, more and more computer applications interact with users in very complex and sophisticated ways. In human-computer interaction, attention is given to issues of usability and user modeling, but techniques to emotionally engage users or respond to their emotional needs have not been fully developed, even as specialists like Klein, Norman and Picard argued that machines that recognize and express emotions respond better and more appropriately to user interaction (Picard, 1997; Picard & Klein, 2002; Norman, 2004). This study investigated emotion from designersâ perspectives and tentatively concludes that there is little awareness and involvement in emotional design in the IT community. By contrast, participants in this study (36 IT specialists from various fields) strongly supported the idea of emotional design and confirmed the need for methodologies and theoretical models to research emotional design. Based on a review of theory, surveys and interviews, I identified a set of themes for heuristics of emotional design and recommended future research directions. Attention was given to consequences; participants in this study raised issues of manipulation, ethical responsibilities of designers, and the need for regulations, and recommended that emotional design should carry standard ethical guidelines for games and any other applications. The research design utilized a mixed QUAN-qual methodological model proposed by Creswell (2003) and Gay, Mills, and Airasian (2006), which was modified to equally emphasize both quantitative and qualitative stages. An instrument in the form of a questionnaire was designed, tested and piloted in this study and will be improved and used in future research.