Three levels of happy design

From Beyond Frustration: Three levels of happy design | UX Magazine.

“… I’ve used Seligman’s terms, but my descriptions incorporate concepts and vocabulary from all the research I did as I apply them to experience design.

Mindfulness in design is about a pleasing awareness. In relationships, it can mean infatuation. It’s knowing that this is good, that this makes me happy. It’s satisfying. You feel it in your body. As Norman suggests, it’s visceral. You trust that things are moving the direction you want them to go. As the user of the design, there’s the feeling you’re being paid attention to, that the designer is anticipating your needs and being considerate of your wants. As the designer, you demonstrate that you have the user in mind and you understand her goals.

Flow is from work done by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In his book, Flow, Csikszentmihalyi describes a state that people enter when they are fully focused in which they experience immersion in a task or activity to the point where they lost track of time. There’s no time between tool time and goal time. Brown talks about transformation; I think that applies here, too. Sagmeister uses words like contentment and joy. As the user, you sense no friction between you and the design on the way to reaching your goal. You may even spend more time than you planned because you’re having fun, or being productive, or both. As the designer, you incorporate psychological cues, language, social cues, and reinforcement to subtly motivate users to keep working or playing longer than they might without those design cues.

Meaning comes from a feeling of fellowship, contributing, and making the world a better place. It’s about harmony and, as Norman says, reflectiveness—because good things happen to you, you want to do good for others. As a user, you reach your goal quickly, easily, and happily, but you realize you’re involved in something bigger than yourself, that your involvement is making a positive difference in others’ lives. As a designer, help users know where they fit in and what their effect is by thinking through exactly what you want the emotional and behavioral effects to be of using your design. You demonstrate intention (in the yogic sense) through clarity, simplicity, funneling, modeling outcomes. …”


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