The Three Levels Of Product Interaction In Emotional Design


It’s impossible to talk about emotional design and not quote Donald Norman. This cognitive scientist and design critic is one of the leading thinkers in the field and was the one who developed the concept of Emotional Design.

the three levels of interaction or perception according to catapult revenue with the product, ranging from the appearance to the imaginary, get to know them below:

Visceral Level

This is the most instinctive level of emotional design. Because it is related to the first contact with the product and our first impressions about it, it can be said that he is responsible for creating that need of “I want!”.

The crucial factor at this level is appearance and ability to generate customer desire. Think about how much stuff you’ve bought just because it’s aesthetically appealing. This happens because we are naturally attracted to specific characteristics, such as bright colors and rounded shapes.

The reactions and emotions generated at this level are pretty comprehensive. Because they are shared by most people, as they are based on expected behaviors and instinctual responses of the subconscious, in summary, we can say that this level is categorized by what captivates people.

Behavioral Level

This is the intermediate level between the three described by Norman. It is directly linked to user satisfaction and the user’s ability to use the product without interruptions or setbacks.

Consider the example of an app with too many tabs or challenging to perform the desired actions. As attractive as the interface may be aesthetical, the user will not have positive emotions when using it.

In this sense, the behavioral level is closely aligned with the individuals’ experience of use. Unlike the previous one, this level doesn’t have comprehensive reactions, as the experience can vary significantly from one user to another.

But it can be said that the individual’s attraction at this stage is through the feeling of control over the situation. In other words, the most accessible products to use are the ones that create the most positive emotions as they allow users to feel competent.

Reflective Level

This is the last of the three levels presented by Don Norman. It is related to the superego and not so much to the user experience itself. It can be said that this level is significantly influenced by culture and status.

Here, the instincts of the subconscious or the experience of using the product are not considered, but the image it conveys and its value to society. An example of employment at this level is the purchase of a designer watch.

Even though it only shows the time as all other watches do, this one, in particular, has a different added value. It is the representation of social status and an implicit image that the individual wants to use.

In this way, the reflective level does not happen instantly like the visceral one. Nor is it just linked to the individual, as it reflects the positions of the environment in which he is inserted.

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