Prototyping Improves the Emotional & Aesthetic Appeal of Your Designs?

February 26, 2024

Prototyping Improves the Emotional & Aesthetic Appeal of Your Designs?

Find out what people might think when looking at your website. 👇🏼

Illustration by Anna A from Ouch!

What is emotional and aesthetic appeal?

You know when you meet someone and feel and know if you match their energy  or not? That’s how users feel about your website and mobile app as soon as they get in contact with your design. Their feelings about your product are influenced by the colour palette, shapes, fonts, animations, messaging, brand tone and all other interactions. How they feel about your digital product can also heavily influence their opinion, trust, loyalty, satisfaction and advocacy for your product or even bigger than that — your brand.

“You know John, I almost decided not to work with you because of the design of your website. But you did such a great job.” — comment from a client of a colleague of mine.

Why is emotional and aesthetic appeal important?

How you present your brand through your emotional and aesthetic appeal helps you speak the language of your users, attract the partners that are willing to collaborate with you and connect with other brands having similar values, goals and missions. This same appeal helps you distinguish your design from your competitors. Also, it can help you create a more genuine interaction with your audience. An example is an app associated with positive emotions, excitement, curiosity, and surprise it is more likely to nudge users to stay longer, explore, upgrade and even return to the app more often than others.

How can prototyping help you improve emotional and aesthetic appeal?

Through prototyping and user testing, you can create different versions and even build upon what you have already created. Feedback in the stage of prototyping is the most powerful action that can help you review your hypothesis and assumptions about your design and how it makes your users feel. This is a phase of presenting and getting the deserved applause for good work, feedback on what needs to be improved or even better ideas for further upscaling your digital product. Hand in hand, after those two methods are implemented it comes the fun part of iterating and implementing all the constructive feedback.

What are some best practices for prototyping for emotional and aesthetic appeal?

Having a plan and a strategy, in my opinion, are the first steps. Aligning your business goals and user needs helps you choose the right design and prototyping methods to improve your product. What else is important to consider:

  • Having a brand style guide that reflects your brand identity.
  • Outlining the functionality and features of your prototype.
  • Selecting the best prototyping tool for your needs (flexibility, learning curve, cost and efficiency).
  • Talk and test with real users! Don’t forget to include them in the process after all.

What are some examples of prototyping for emotional and aesthetic appeal?

It might sound like I am repeating myself, but it is the usage of low-fidelity or mid-fidelity prototypes for the sole purpose of communicating a concept, testing hypotheses or assumptions and encouraging feedback from your users. This whole process is very exploratory. Sometimes it feels like a Jumanji quest — trying different paths and adjusting tactics along the way to the final destination. To get the connection between the emotional and aesthetic appeal, you need to tie and match the visual elements appropriately with your product's storytelling.

Here’s what else to consider

  1. Don’t get too caught up on the functionality of your prototype and forget about the messaging behind your product and what emotional connection you are trying to build with your users. Sometimes making it as simple as possible and straightforwardly phrasing your idea and message is a great way to connect with your users on an emotional level.
Do you struggle with picking the right outfit for the working week? We got you! Here is your whole wardrobe virtually organised and sorted for you to pick outfits from. — This is a fictional messaging I came up with. And a nice visual with this message and voila! GIF or animated video even better.

2. Experiment and adapt! Don’t refrain from changing up the prototype for the next batch of usability testing to see what kind of emotions and reactions you evoke in your users.

3. Consider your user's feedback as part of the next prototype interaction. You would be surprised how users react when their suggestions are being heard.

4. Last but not least, remember that people remember how you or your product made them feel. So make sure you don’t neglect the power of emotional and visual appeal. And you and your team are not the users! Remember that the idea behind the prototype at the end of the day is meant to serve your users and meet their needs and expectations. So what you like is not what your users like. Separating yourself, preferences and biases early on is the best way to ensure you are designing a product in the right direction. But if it is a passion project and making  it for yourself, by all means, continue to ignore the user’s input.


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