According to research, humans have four chemicals which control our emotions. User experience design can be focused on taking into consideration these four emotional states of the user in order to enhance experience of general user interfaces. A better user satisfaction translates into generating business value and benefits. Hence, it is crucial to learn more about these emotional triggers for human beings.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which our body generates. It is used to send messages between nerve cells and is used to generate pleasure by regulating emotions and body movements.
While interacting with interfaces, the major triggers for dopamine are gamification or rewards. Awards, digital badges, competitions, and in-app quests keep user interest alive and promotes regular app usage without requiring a huge budget. It is called reward motivated behavior. This could be experienced while playing videogames, interacting with applications in iPad, phones or other devices.
There are two primary ways of designing a product: function-focused design (FFD) and human-focused design (HFD). HFD goes beyond just function and empathises with human needs and emotions while designing. One example of this would be micro animations, such a small tick mark after completing a task in UI. This tickmark could be something as simple as a notification after a message is sent or after completion of a task. Seeing the tick mark could make the user satisfied or happy, thus releasing dopamine.
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter which could bring happiness and results from empathy, security, trust and humanised interfaces. This could be achieved by forming a sense of bonding or connection with the user through UX Design. The more human centric and personalised the experience is, the more secure and happy the user feels while interacting with the UI. This can be achieved by introducing an avatar or human persona in the UI. Giving the avatar a face and personality which resembles humans could help in connecting better with the user. The user then gets the feeling of interacting with another human being instead of a digital device and this humanised layer aids in inducing oxytocin during interactions.
This neurotransmitter helps in being emotionally stable, less anxious, more tranquil and even more focused and energetic
Triggers for serotonin could be positive events, positive actions and accomplishments in UI. Some of the ways to achieve this are through gamification and incremental goals in UI.
Small elements such as progress bars or step trackers are used to generate these emotions in users. It is a way of motivating the user to complete the tasks.
Endorphin generally masks pain or discomfort in human bodies in order to fight and power through. One of the triggers for this neurotransmitter is incremental goals. This usually deals with comforting the user after a task is completed. A smiley emoji after completion of task could be one way to trigger excitement and satisfaction in user to achieve more goals in the future. It could be shown to the user after completion of the last task in a process. Expecting an enjoyable thing such as the next achievement will give the users little shots of happiness throughout their experience with the product.
Users tend to form connections to webpages or applications through interactions and aesthetics.
Gamification, animation, visualisation, sound effects, haptics all have a major role to play in enhancing user experience and they induce emotions in users. These tools could be used to motivate users to engage more with products and services and make them want to come back.
Introducing them at the right time during the user journey is important. When there are pause points in UI like loading pages or error pages, users tend to get distracted and lose interest. These empty states in UI generally give scope for the users to get easily distracted and research shows that most of the users tend to switch to other applications in this time. An interesting topic would be to design these empty states in order to keep the users interested and engage them.
Would it be possible to convert the empty states in UI to gauge user emotions while they are using a product or service? These pause points could be designed to ask users for feedback about their experience so far while using the product or service in order to gauge their emotional state whether they are happy, angry, satisfied, curious, etc. Animations couple with good sound effects and visualisation can be used to design these questionnaires or feedback portals. Every time a loading page or error page appears, users could be asked questions in an interesting and motivating way in order to keep them engaged.
Further research in the field of visualisation and sensory experiences and its impact on users in UI could be used to design these empty states.
How could feedback loops and questionnaires in empty states be designed using these triggers?