Design Delight: A Framework For The Analysis And Generation Of Pleasurable Designs

Engendering experiential qualities: surprise, vitality, cuteness, serendipity, and reassurance.

Omar Sosa-Tzec
Assistant Professor
University of Michigan

This research introduces a framework named design delight, which is intended to analyze and give form to features of design products that provoke delight. In all human experiences, including designed experiences, delight plays a significant role. Particularly in modern societies, whose everyday life can be stressful, encountering moments of high pleasure can remind people that good things and individuals are part of such a life. It is no surprise that delight has been acknowledged as noteworthy element of experiences shaped by design. Design products that are delightful, no matter whether these are objects, graphics, or services, create emotional bonds, stronger memories, higher levels of loyalty, engagement, motivation for repurchase, and product promotion by word of mouth [1]–[6].

Design delight focuses on how design features are capable of engendering five particular experiential qualities: surprise, vitality, cuteness, serendipity, and reassurance. For design delight, these qualities characterize those instants of significant pleasure that a person encounters while she makes use a design product. Design delight is attentive to how design features help one or more of these qualities manifest or become salient in an interval of the user experience. This research argues that moments of pleasure derived from the combination of surprise, vitality, cuteness, serendipity, and reassurance constitute a rhetorical dimension of design products. A designer can make use of these five qualities to influence people’s behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. Design delight pays particular attention to how its constituents persuade, promote identification, invite to understanding, aid in self-discovery and self-knowledge, and shape reality.  

Design delight derives from the semiotic and rhetorical analysis [7]–[9] of numerous design products, including different kinds of user interfaces and interactive media, analog objects, and services. It also derives from secondary research on the notions of pleasure, delight, and aesthetics from the perspective of a variety of disciplines, including marketing, philosophy, and human-computer interaction. As a framework, design delight unifies foundations of semiotics, rhetoric, multimodal argumentation, and design for its theoretical underpinning. Design delight regards design features as multimodal signs which come into existence through a combination of six basic elements, namely, the visual, verbal, aural, olfactory, tactile, and temporal. Seen as signs, design features represent a means by which the designer communicates her intent; particularly, to invoke one or more of the five qualities happen. However, this semiotic perspective also considers that the context of use and how it affects the user’s process of generating meaning have an impact in how she grasps and reacts to such an intent.

Design delight is formulated as a conceptual framework to aid design practitioners and scholars in analyzing and elaborating on how design features engender significant moments instants of pleasure. Design delight is not a universal or quantifiable characterization of delight. Rather, design delight offers design practitioners and scholars a lens to view delight as something that shapes everyday life through design products. As making products that are surprising, lively, cute, serendipitous, and reassuring can contribute to living a good life, they can also lead to undesirable behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes. Professionals and scholars of design simply cannot be oblivious to the impact of delight in modern life and its connection with people’s psychological, physical, and emotional well-being. Whether design delight is used for generative or analytical purposes, this framework urges design practitioners and scholars keep in mind that creating pleasurable products entails an ethical responsibility.

References

[1]             M. W. Alexander, “Customer Delight: A Review,” Academy of Marketing Studies Journal; Arden, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 39–53, 2010.

[2]             M. J. Arnold, K. E. Reynolds, N. Ponder, and J. E. Lueg, “Customer delight in a retail context: investigating delightful and terrible shopping experiences,” Journal of Business Research, vol. 58, no. 8, pp. 1132–1145, Aug. 2005.

[3]             R. Chitturi, R. Raghunathan, and V. Mahajan, “Delight by Design: The Role of Hedonic versus Utilitarian Benefits,” Journal of Marketing, vol. 72, no. 3, pp. 48–63, 2008.

[4]             J. S.-C. Hsu, T.-C. Lin, T.-W. Fu, and Y.-W. Hung, “The effect of unexpected features on app users’ continuance intention,” Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 418–430, Oct. 2015.

[5]             A. Kumar, R. W. Olshavsky, and M. F. King, “Exploring alternative antecedents of customer delight,” Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Complaining Behavior, vol. 14, pp. 14–26, 2001.

[6]             R. T. Rust and R. L. Oliver, “Should we delight the customer?,” J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci., vol. 28, no. 1, p. 86, 2000.

[7]             C. S. de Souza, C. F. Leitão, R. O. Prates, S. Amélia Bim, and E. J. da Silva, “Can inspection methods generate valid new knowledge in HCI? The case of semiotic inspection,” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, vol. 68, no. 1–2, pp. 22–40, Jan. 2010.

[8]             O. Sosa-Tzec and M. A. Siegel, “Rhetorical Evaluation of User Interfaces,” in Proceedings of the 8th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Fun, Fast, Foundational, New York, NY, USA, 2014, pp. 175–178.

[9]             J. Bardzell, “Interaction criticism: An introduction to the practice,” Interacting with Computers, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 604–621, 2011.

Typographic Landscape Ecologies

Joshua Singer
Associate Professor
San Francisco State University

Typographic Landscape Ecologies is an ongoing design research project that documents, maps, and visualizes typographic artifacts in the urban landscape as a way to explore cultural forces in the constructed world. The project presuppose a model of a semiotic landscape; a complex multi‐dimensional text or collection of texts in geographic space; the landscape as a collection of symbolically mediated phenomena understood only through representation. The typographic elements of the urban landscape form, through their invisible connections to the greater world of meaning, an ecology of meaning that constructs geographic space as real as its material forms.

Typographic Landscape Ecologies uses conventional research as a means to authoritatively document the landscape in an attempt to reveal patterns and relationships. The project uses experimental methods as a foil to the authority of conventional research as a way to generate speculative conclusions. Imprecise and questionable associations generate new semantic connections and new forms of thinking and knowledge. The illumination of new knowledge is the ultimate goal of research giving subjective and illegitimate conclusions value by revealing something not yet known. The work of the radical architecture groups Superstudio and Archigram, the design fictions of Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, the iconoclastic maps of Denis Woods, and the imaginary science of ‘Pataphysics offer examples of the ability of working data into new syntaxes, into alternative and speculative narratives, that can offer glimpses of other potentialities. In Typographic Landscape Ecologies this is demonstrated by the visual cross-referencing of aesthetic ecologies and cultural vectors, their overlay onto three dimensional virtual environments comprised of layers of historical maps that encourage us to read between the lines or layers of a cultural-semiotic space. This does not offer concrete answers, but rather poses new and unexpected questions.

Portraits of Obama: Media, Fidelity, and the 44th President

Scholarship: Creative Work Award Winner

Kareem Collie
Lecturer
Harvey Mudd
Stanford University

“In a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter…information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.” -Obama

President Obama made this statement in May 2010, during one of his most tumultuous years in office— healthcare reform, financial reform, the BP oil spill … the list continues. The notion of being bombarded by media is not a new one. This idea was discussed often during the last half of the 20th century, as television became ubiquitous in American life. The proliferation of media content, voices, and audiences (specifically in relationship to news content) continue to grow and reach into every aspect of our lives through 21st century media tools and channels. The discourse on media and its impact on society continue to call for scrutiny, and as Obama says, it continues to put “new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”

Using Obama as a prism, I examine the culture of American mass media, examining the fidelity of news content amongst the ever-growing, ever-fragmenting, modern media landscape. I investigate the audience’s active engagement in the construction of their relationship to reality, the flawed nature of news makers and their perceptions of the world, and offer an alternative narrative approach to the construction of the self.

I approach this essay through the convention of narrative and visual communication. I discuss narrative as a mechanism of our individual cognition and cultural engagement, allowing for personal and collective understanding of the world around us. The tools of visual communication design are used to reframe the discussion of today’s 24/7 media environment, hoping to step outside of the “wolf’s gullet,” using the tools that help coat its lining.

My hope here is three-fold: (1) Using President Obama as an example, I wish to examine and illuminate the current role of media in our lives, (2) reframe the discourse of media and the active nature of the audience through the use of visual communication design, to pose new questions and answers and (3) present an alternative means of finding our sense of self within the deluge of media today.

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Kareem Collie is a lecturer at Harvey Mudd College and Stanford University. He is a design professional, with over fifteen years of experience designing, directing, and leading projects in branding, advertising, interactive, and creative strategy. His collaborative and leadership skills span across diverse areas of the industry, from the boardroom to the classroom.

Kareem is also a lifelong learner and educator, with a decade of experience teaching design and design thinking. His research interests are visual communications, design thinking, narrative, audience reception, and media theory.

As a deep thinker, visual storyteller, and maker, Kareem endeavors to inject more critical thinking and intentionality into the creative process, a notion that drives both his practice and pedagogy.

 

You Look Like The Right Type

Mark Addison Smith
Assistant Professor
Electronic Design and Multimedia
The City College of New York, CUNY

An illustration manifests “thought” through the viewer’s decoding of visual-based representation—be it text-based, image-based, or a combination of both. Logocentrism holds that original thought generates a need for spoken communication and, in turn, speech generates a need for writing. In a daily ritual since 2008, I redraw exact-dialogue fragments of overheard conversations as 7×11-inch India ink illustrations (combining direct-quote text with visual and tonal embellishment) and combine the single illustrations into larger, theme-based conversations between people who have never met or exchanged words. When amassed together as modular narratives, my black and white drawings—collectively titled You Look Like The Right Type—start having grayscale conversations with one another across time, place, age, and gender (the who, what, when, where, why, and how of journalistic-narrative documentation). And the audience, as interlocutor, triangulates the conversation by reading that which was once spoken and making their own non-linear, grayscale associations between text, image, and completion of what’s left unsaid. Thus, original thought emerges not only through my reinterpretation of other voices, but also through z-axis, non-linear readability (or, Scott McCloud’s “infinite canvas”).

In his 1967 text, Of Grammatology, Derrida argues for a definition of grammatology in which written language is not derivative of spoken language, but, rather, the two become independent, legitimate signifiers for original thought. Thus, the written word (including text-based illustration) can be understood from a stance as comprehensive as the spoken word. Within my You Look Like The Right Type series, I’ve been archiving daily conversation fragments as black and white illustrations since 2008 in a ritualistic effort to not only bring permanence to the spoken form, but also to manifest original thought—via the recycled thoughts of others—within illustrated type-and-image works on paper. In keeping with the principles outlined in Derrida’s text, I argue—using my archive of 3,000+ illustrations coupled with theories of documentary-style narrative, montage editing, logocentrism, and the z-axis of non-linear comic paneling—that spoken language and written language are autonomous and equal forms of communication, feeding off of one another to generate new storytelling.

An archive of these daily works can be found at YouLookLikeTheRightType.com.