Emotion Mapping



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


Delivering a feature seems more valuable than delivering a task completion that resonates with people. This is what I call the Product / Experience dilemma and is especially present in technology focused companies. The empathy triangle between user, product and business is off center. If we want to humanize software we need to design software that’s better for humans and better in interacting with humans. 


Included in this e-book are 36 negative and 25 positive emotions. I belief that designers can use their empathy to sense with emotions are triggered and where/why those emotions are triggered. Tip: record the usage of a specific task completion and label them with emotions afterwards. I included the emotions worksheets as check box sheet for overall product sentiment mapping and as labels to tag task completions of more detailed interface elements. If we want to use technology for positive social impact we need to change our design systems and start designing with emotions. When emotion mapping is validated we could ask our users to do the same exercise for even more insights.


By designing with emotion we balance our design effort with soft skills. The functional part of the interface is brought into balance with emotion-labels which can help us to ideate better, more human solutions.


Design strategy is all about empathy, insight & creativity. Yet, I don’t see emotions being used in our daily design efforts. Perhaps this is normal, because emotions are very hard to distinguish or even be aware off. I believe designers are already using emotion / empathy in their design work, but not so concious as I am proposing.

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 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 could be a real super power. Let me know how you used this exercise and if it helped you in humanizing your personal or teams’ design effort.

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 17 times – 1 MB


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