Personality in interfaces

There is a lot of good content in this slideshow by Stephen Anderson, and goes a long way into why we should inject personalities in to the interfaces that we are creating.

The underlying message is “You can’t separate usability from visual design” and that is directly attributed to business reasons of why aesthetics are important.¬† Namely that cognitive responses to interfaces from attractive¬† and usable visual design increase the value proposition to a user base. If you care about the function of your product you also should care about the visual design.

If a Application design is attractive and usable, humans response is more passionate and emotional, and the user is more likely to use the interface again and build trust in the application.

Human emotional response to objects and the way we interact with them is that we start injecting and making a personality around that object, and this is often a direct response from the form of the object.

Items shown in the slideshow shows Sony’s Aibo, Volkswagon Beetle and Apple’s iPod shuffle, all items know to produce an emotional bond with people, who like to project their personality on to such products as an extension of their own personality.

As Frank Spillers writes in his paper “Emotion as a cognitive artifact and the Implications for Products that are Perceived as Pleasurable“:

Product design that provides aesthetic appeal, pleasure and satisfaction can greatly influence the success of a product. Traditional cognitive approaches to product usability have tended to underestimate or fragment emotion from an understanding of the user experience. Affect, which is inexplicable linked to attitudes, expectations and motivations, plays a significant role in the cognition of product interaction, and therefore can be usefully treated as a design aid. Emotion influences and mediates specific aspects of interaction before, during and after the use of a product. These affective states regularly impact how a user manipulates and explores a user interface in order to support a desired cognitive state.

Its a very interesting paper, worthy of further reading so I have provided a link for download here:


The value created by working on the usability of an interface can be directly extended by making sure that the aesthetics of the product are suitable and of high quality. It can also differentiate your product from products of a simliar nature. A good example of this is the iPod, it wasn’t the first MP3 player by any means, but it was the first to capture its intended audience and then some.

[tags]Personality, Interface, Experience, UAX[/tags]

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