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How Designers Can Make the World a Happier Place

Design is powerful – it can generate excitement, bring joy, provoke anger, or trigger anxiety, sometimes all in the same interaction. From the big decisions about a product’s purpose all the way down to the myriad pixel-level arguments lost and won, designers have a great responsibility to safeguard the happiness of the users we serve. But what do we really know about the nature of happiness? And how can we actually make everyone happy?

In this talk, Kathi Kaiser (Co-Founder & COO, Centralis) deconstructs the concept of “happiness” and offer designers a framework for considering the emotional impact of their work. She explores the meaning, dimensions, and pre-conditions of happiness while examining the wide range of satisfying outcomes and their implications for design. Drawing on recent research in psychology as well as real-world design examples, you’ll learn when and how to evoke joy, humor, reassurance, comfort, and other positive feelings through applying a set of guiding principles for the pursuit of happiness.

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How Designers Can Make the World a Happier Place

  1. 1. How Designers Can Make the World a Happier Place UXPA Boston 2018 Kathi Kaiser Centralis @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  2. 2. Can designers make the world happier? @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX What We’ll Talk About If yes… (hint: it’s yes)
  3. 3. What types of happiness can we design for? When should we design for different types of happiness? And how do we do it? @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX What We’ll Talk About
  4. 4. Think of a moment in the past week when you felt happy Let’s get started 4@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  5. 5. What made me happy this week: 5@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  6. 6. What makes me Happy In Life: 6@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  7. 7. Happiness for me 7@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX “happy” moments + “Happy” In Life
  8. 8. Happiness for you…? 8@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX “happy” moments + “Happy” In Life
  9. 9. Psychology and the Pursuit of Happiness 9@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX Historically, the field of psychology did not concern itself with happiness.
  10. 10. Psychology and the Pursuit of Happiness 10 The belief was, our genes set our happiness... …and thanks to hedonic adaptation, we’re never satisfied.
  11. 11. Then came positive psychology “We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise that achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in individuals, families, and communities.“ -Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Psychology and the Pursuit of Happiness 11
  12. 12. Where does happiness come from? 12 50% “Set Point” - Genetics Lyubomirsky, S, Sheldon, K.M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111- 131.
  13. 13. Where does happiness come from? 13 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances Lyubomirsky, S, Sheldon, K.M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111- 131.
  14. 14. Where does happiness come from? 14 Lyubomirsky, S, Sheldon, K.M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111- 131. 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances 40% intentional activities
  15. 15. Where does happiness come from? 15 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances 40% intentional activities Half of what makes us happy can be impacted by design. @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  16. 16. Where does happiness come from? 16 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances
  17. 17. Where does happiness come from? 17 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 40% intentional activities
  18. 18. Subjective well-being = + frequent positive affect (little “happy”) + infrequent negative affect + high life satisfaction (big “Happy”) Defining “Happiness” 18
  19. 19. Defining “Happiness” 19 Happy-o-meter @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  20. 20. Can we make people happier? 20 Yes! Designers can make people happier every day by delivering more frequent positive affect, and less frequent negative affect. @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  21. 21. Can we make people happier? 21 Ok, great! (But how?) @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  22. 22. A Framework for Happiness 22 Camaraderie Exhilaration Comfort Achievement
  23. 23. Efficiency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 23 Engagement Dimension #1: “I enjoy doing it!”“I enjoy that it’s DONE.”
  24. 24. Efficiency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 24 Engagement Dimension #1:
  25. 25. Efficiency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 25 Engagement Dimension #1:
  26. 26. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 26 Abandon Dimension #2: “Ahh, you got this…”“I GOT this.”
  27. 27. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 27 Dimension #2:
  28. 28. Dimensions of Happy Interactions 28 Dimension #2: Abandon “You want the water to be nice and warm and you want your beer to be cold. And that’s the perfect day, right there.”
  29. 29. Agency A Framework for Happy Interactions 29 Abandon Efficiency Engagement
  30. 30. A Framework for Happy Interactions 30 Agency Engagement Mastery “I can do this, and it’s AWESOME.”
  31. 31. A Framework for Happy Interactions 31 Agency Engagement Mastery
  32. 32. A Framework for Happy Interactions 32 Agency Engagement Mastery Design Principles: + Introduce features over time + Progressively increase skill level needed + Provide feedback
  33. 33. Agency A Framework for Happy Interactions 33 Efficiency “Mission accomplished!” Accomplishment
  34. 34. Agency A Framework for Happy Interactions 34 Efficiency Accomplishment
  35. 35. Agency A Framework for Happy Interactions 35 Accomplishment Efficiency Design Principles: + Be comprehensive + Be transparent + Communicate tradeoffs + Use design conventions + Minimize steps
  36. 36. A Framework for Happy Interactions 36 Abandon Efficiency “Thank goodness THAT’s done!” Completion
  37. 37. A Framework for Happy Interactions 37 Abandon Efficiency Completion
  38. 38. A Framework for Happy Interactions 38 Abandon Efficiency Completion Design Principles: + Establish trust + Communicate only what’s necessary + Use design conventions + Minimize steps
  39. 39. A Framework for Happy Interactions 39 Abandon Engagement “Wow, that is amazing!” Discovery
  40. 40. A Framework for Happy Interactions 40 Abandon Engagement Discovery
  41. 41. A Framework for Happy Interactions 41 Abandon Engagement Discovery Design Principles: + Lead with content + Build on prior knowledge + Use interaction to support, not detract + Have fun!
  42. 42. Agency A Framework for Happy Interactions 42 Abandon Efficiency Engagement Mastery DiscoveryCompletion Accomplishment Design for the appropriate happiness goal, moment by moment and context by context.
  43. 43. Subjective well-being = + frequent positive affect (little “happy”) + infrequent negative affect + high life satisfaction (big “Happy”) In Summary 43
  44. 44. + Frequent Positive Affect 44 Happy-o-meter
  45. 45. + Infrequent Negative Affect 45 Bad usability kills happiness.
  46. 46. + High Life Satisfaction 46
  47. 47. A Final Word 47 We can make the world a happier place, one interaction at a time.
  48. 48. Thanks! UXPA Boston 2018 Kathi Kaiser Centralis @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX

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