Course Description

What separates great products from good ones? Attractive designs? User testing? Genius designers? Well, these might be contributory factors, but the true distinction lies in how they make users feel. Every experience has an emotional component, and using products is no different. Incorporating emotion should therefore be a key consideration when designing products or websites. This course will provide you with an understanding of emotional responses and how to create designs that encourage them.

An understanding of emotional design—how users feel and what affects these feelings—is essential if you want to provide great user experiences. There are probably things near you right now that are not necessarily the best, and they might not even be particularly attractive, but you are nonetheless still using them. Take a seashell from your favorite beach, or your very first tennis racket, for example; they are meaningful to you, and you consequently feel a connection to them. These connections are powerful; they subconsciously affect you and have the capacity to turn inanimate objects into evocative extensions of you as an individual.

In this course, we will provide you with the information necessary to elicit such positive emotional experiences through your designs. Human-computer interaction (HCI) specialist Alan Dix provides video content for each of the lessons, helping to crystallize the information covered throughout the course. By the end of it, you will have a better understanding of the relationship between people and the things they use in their everyday lives and, more importantly, how to design new products and websites which elicit certain emotional responses.

What you will learn

  • How to establish a relationship between emotion and design
  • Examples of emotional responses in design and the human factors that affect them
  • Designing for positive emotional experiences
  • Examples of emotional responses in design
  • The difference between visceral, behavioral and reflective design, and how to encourage positive visceral, behavioral and reflective processing
  • The concept and application of the “Triune Brain”

Who should take this course

This is an intermediate-level course recommended for anyone involved in the design process of a product or website:

  • UX, UI, and web designers keen on designing products that elicit the right emotional response from users, and thus keep them engaged
  • Project managers interested in making their products cater to the users’ emotions
  • Software engineers looking to understand how to target users’ emotional responses more effectively
  • Entrepreneurs who want to ship products that users are engaged with and respond positively towards
  • Marketers interested in creating the right emotional response in customers across all touch-points
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to UX, UI, or web design

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

Lessons in this course

Note: Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week. Once a lesson becomes available, it is open for you forever — you can take all the time you want to go through each lesson. There is no time limit to finish a course, and you always have access to your classmates, course material, and your answers.

The estimated time to complete this course is a total of 11 hours 4 mins spread over 7 weeks.

Lesson 0: Welcome and Introduction

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 46 mins.

  • 0.1: Welcome! (7 mins)
  • 0.2: An introduction to IDF courses (14 mins)
  • 0.3: Let our community help you (1 min)
  • 0.4: Meet your peers online in our discussion forums (6 mins)
  • 0.5: Meet your peers offline through IDF Local Groups (1 min)
  • 0.6: Gain Timeless Knowledge Through IDF Courses (11 mins)
  • 0.7: How to earn your Course Certificate (4 mins)
  • 0.8: Mandatory lessons vs. Optional lessons (2 mins)
  • 0.9: A mix between video-based and text-based lesson content (2 mins)

Lesson 1: What Do We Mean by 'Emotion'? An Introduction to Emotional Design

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 36 mins.

  • 1.1: Welcome and Introduction (7 mins)
  • 1.2: Emotion (11 mins)
  • 1.3: Emotion and Design (11 mins)
  • 1.4: Negative Emotional Responses (13 mins)
  • 1.5: Share Your Example of Poor Emotional Design (5 mins)
  • 1.6: Positive Emotional Responses (12 mins)
  • 1.7: Please Share Your Experiences of Positive Emotional Design (5 mins)
  • 1.8: Using Affordances to Avoid Negative Emotional Responses (10 mins)
  • 1.9: Emotion and Experience - Introduction (13 mins)
  • 1.10: Discussion Forum (5 mins)
  • 1.11: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 2: How Products Affect Us: Emotional Responses, Connections and Associations

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 31 mins.

  • 2.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 2.2: The Product-Emotion Cycle and Relationship Between People and Things (18 mins)
  • 2.3: Positive Emotional Responses (14 mins)
  • 2.4: Creating Emotional Connections (12 mins)
  • 2.5: Designing for Emotion (2 mins)
  • 2.6: Emotions in Systems (10 mins)
  • 2.7: Emotion and Experience - Application Areas 1 (13 mins)
  • 2.8: Emotional Product Design (7 mins)
  • 2.9: Please Share Your Meaningful Connections (5 mins)
  • 2.10: General Lesson Discussion (5 mins)
  • 2.11: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 3: Visceral, Behavioral and Reflective Design - Don Norman's Three Levels of Design

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 20 mins.

  • 3.1: Welcome and Introduction (7 mins)
  • 3.2: Norman's Three Levels of Design (11 mins)
  • 3.3: The Visceral Level of Emotional Design (13 mins)
  • 3.4: The Behavioral Level of Emotional Design (16 mins)
  • 3.5: The Reflective Level of Emotional Design (18 mins)
  • 3.6: Applying Norman's Model of Emotion: Colors in Logo Design (2 mins)
  • 3.7: Identifying Examples of Norman's Three Types of Design (6 mins)
  • 3.8: General Lesson Discussion (5 mins)
  • 3.9: Congratulations and Recap (3 mins)

Lesson 4: Affect and Design: Designing Positive Emotional Experiences

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 9 mins.

  • 4.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 4.2: How Emotions Impact Cognition (14 mins)
  • 4.3: Affect and Design (12 mins)
  • 4.4: Emotion and Design: Affect and Design (11 mins)
  • 4.5: Affect: Emotion and Design (2 mins)
  • 4.6: Emotion and Design: Influence the Consumer's Decision-Making (2 mins)
  • 4.7: Emotion and Experience - Application Areas 2 (13 mins)
  • 4.8: Stimulating the Affective System (6 mins)
  • 4.9: General Lesson Discussion (5 mins)
  • 4.10: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 5: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Helping Users "Self-Actualize"

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 38 mins.

  • 5.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 5.2: Why UX Now? (15 mins)
  • 5.3: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (12 mins)
  • 5.4: Physiological Needs: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (11 mins)
  • 5.5: Safety: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (12 mins)
  • 5.6: Esteem: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (11 mins)
  • 5.7: Self-Actualization: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (12 mins)
  • 5.8: Emotion and Experience - Application Areas 3 (7 mins)
  • 5.9: Self-Actualization: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (3 mins)
  • 5.10: The Personal Meaning of Things (4 mins)
  • 5.11: What's Your Take on The "Hierarchy of Needs"? (6 mins)
  • 5.12: Congratulations and Recap (2 mins)

Lesson 6: The Triune Brain: Sorry, You Have to Please Three Brains, Not Just One

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 37 mins.

  • 6.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 6.2: The Concept of the "Triune Brain" (4 mins)
  • 6.3: Our Three Brains - The Reptilian Brain (10 mins)
  • 6.4: Our Three Brains - The Emotional Brain (10 mins)
  • 6.5: Our Three Brains - The Rational Brain (9 mins)
  • 6.6: Identify Your Skills (7 mins)
  • 6.7: Emotion Theory - Kinds of Emotion, Reason and Emotion (21 mins)
  • 6.8: Emotion Theory - The Happy Mean, Experience and Enchantment (18 mins)
  • 6.9: Exercise: Does Theory Help? (7 mins)
  • 6.10: General Lesson Discussion (6 mins)
  • 6.11: Congratulations and Recap (3 mins)

Lesson 7: Emotional Design: Applying the Knowledge

To be scheduled. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 27 mins.

  • 7.1: Welcome and Introduction (2 mins)
  • 7.2: The Reptilian Brain: Emotion and Design (12 mins)
  • 7.3: The Paleomammalian Brain: Emotion and Design (11 mins)
  • 7.4: The Neomammalian Brain: Emotion and Design (14 mins)
  • 7.5: Some Useful links, Resources, References and Images for Those Researching Emotion and Design (2 mins)
  • 7.6: Designing Experience - Crackers Case Study (32 mins)
  • 7.7: Designing Experience - Exercise (7 mins)
  • 7.8: General Lesson Discussion (6 mins)
  • 7.9: Congratulations and Recap (1 min)

Lesson 8: Course Certificate, Final Networking, and Course Wrap-up

To be scheduled.

  • 8.1: Course Evaluation (1 min)

Industry-trusted UX Course Certificate

You earn an industry-trusted Course Certificate once you complete the course - even if you finish the course after the official end date. In other words, as long as you have enrolled in the course you will always be able to finish it and to get a course certificate. You will also have permanent access to the course material, your answers and the discussions.

Course Certificates from the IDF are verifiable and trusted by industry leaders. You can highlight them on your resume, CV, LinkedIn profile or your website.

Course Certificate

Our courses and Course Certificates are trusted by these industry leaders, who have taken up company memberships with the IDF:

Accenture Adobe GE Philips SAP