Authors: Preece, Rogers & Sharp
Case Studies
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2 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Chapter Index
Understanding How Interfaces Affect Users

Chapter Introduction | Web Resources | Assignment Comments | Teaching Materials

An overarching goal of interaction design is to develop interactive systems that elicit positive responses from users, such as feeling at ease, being comfortable, and enjoying the experience of using them be it a washing machine or a flightdeck. Designers are also concerned with how to create interactive products thatelicit specific kinds of emotional responses in users, such as motivating them to learn, play, be creative, or be social. There has also been much interest in designing websites and Internet applications that people can trust, that make them feel comfortable about divulging personal information or when making a purchase.

Taken together, we refer to this emerging area as the affective aspects of interaction design. In this chapter we look at how and why the design of interactive products causes certain kinds of emotional responses in users. We begin by looking in general at expressive interfaces, examining the role of an interface's appearance to users and how it affects usability. We then examine how interactive products elicit positive effects, e.g. pleasure, and negative responses, e.g. frustration. How technologies are being designed and used to persuade people to change their behavior and attitudes is then covered. Following this, we discuss the controversial topic of anthropomorphism and the implications of designing applications to have human-like qualities. We examine the range of physical and virtual characters that have gained popularity to motivate people to learn, buy, listen and consider how useful and appropriate they are. Finally, we present three models that have been proposed to explain the relationship between affect and user experience: (i) Norman's (2004) emotional design model, (ii) Jordan's (2000) pleasure model for product design, and (iii) McCarthy and Wright's (2004) technology as experience framework.

The main aims of this chapter are to:

  • Explain what expressive interfaces are and the affects they can have on people.

  • Outline the nature of user frustration and how to reduce it.

  • Debate the pros and cons of applying anthropomorphism in interaction design.

  • Describe the affective aspects used in interface agents and interactive physical toys.

  • Present models and frameworks of affect that can be applied to interaction design.

  • Enable you to critique the persuasive impact of an online agent on customers.