Emotion Mapping

Estimated reading time: 2 min



Every rational thought has an emotional counterpart. Yet, these are much harder to identify because of the subconscious nature of emotions. In business, we tend to overvalue the functional part and we push the emotional side towards marketing.

If we want to humanize our software design we need to visualize the rational and emotional side of an experience and combine both in our experiences design. Emotion mapping has already proven itself in the Design Principles Workshop. It’s time to investigate if emotion mapping can help us forge better applications.


Today, delivering feature seems more valuable than facilitating the desired outcome. This is what I call product-centered design and is especially an issue in technology focused companies. The empathy triangle between the user, product, and business is off-center. If we want to humanize software we need to design software that’s better for humans and more pleasant to use by humans.


Included in this e-book are 36 negative and 25 positive emotions. I believe that designers can use their empathy to sense with emotions are triggered and where/why those emotions are triggered in your current experience journey.

Tip: Index a specific task completion in a spreadsheet, write down your thoughts, and label the steps in the flow with negative emotions. If we want to use technology for positive social impact we have to ditch page-based design and embrace conversation design.


By designing with emotion we balance our functional design effort with soft skills. Indexing negative emotions in your task-completions give us a tool to turn negative emotions into positive experiences.


Stellar UX is all about empathy, insight & creativity. Yet, I don’t see emotions being used in our daily design efforts. I believe designers love to use emotions and empathy in their design work, and emotion mapping gives them a tool to do so.

The list of positive and negative emotions – included in this e-book – make us aware of the broad spectrum of emotions. 

In your daily life it is very insightful to know which emotions you have – and if – you want to respond to them. Being aware of which emotions you trigger in others is also very powerful.

Discussing and using emotions in software design will enable us to design better experiences.

This design experiment will teach us how we might use emotions in our daily design routines.

Learning how we can combine functional & emotional perspectives is a real super power. Let me know how you used this exercise and if it helped you in humanizing your software.

Remember: “People will not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” 

Stay Safe,

Niels Kijf

Download “Stellar UX - Emotion Mapping” Stellar-UX-Emotion-mapping-Iteration-2.zip – Downloaded 194 times – 1 MB


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