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Donald Norman’s “Expectation Design”
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First of all, my apologies for the lack of updates lately. Things have been kinda hectic over here.

Good designers already know how to make products attractive (visceral design) and how to appeal to self- and brand-image (reflective design). Good behavioral designers know how to make products usable and understandable—indeed. It’s time now to turn our attention to pleasure and fun. Here, the challenge for designers is behavioral design, where expectations drive emotions. This is where hope and fear, and satisfaction and anger reside. Deliver on positive expectations and people experience pleasure. Deliver something different than expected, but equally satisfying, and people have fun. Fail to deliver, or leave people feeling out of control, and you get a wide range of negative emotions.

This is what Donald Norman will talk about at the next User Experience conference UE 2004 in Las Vegas and Amsterdam. A month ago, Javier Ca񡤡 and I got the chance to have a short interview with Norman, which will be published on this website soon. In this interview he also pointed at his new ideas on ‘expectation design’.

There is something I was thinking of months ago which is related to what Norman calls expectations. I think the relationship between expectation and emotion is interesting and can explain a big part of why products elicit certain emotions. Nevertheless, I have the feeling there is something missing in NormanÂ’s explanation. It is all about the moment of deliverance here, not about the drive to purchase or use the product in the first place. IsnÂ’t it possible to turn things around and look at it in terms of emotion (e.g. emotions experienced in previous experiences) driving a person to have certain expectations?

I am very curious to see how Norman will explain what designers will have to do in order to meet expectations; can a designer really aim to meet expectations or even not to meet expectations on purpose to elicit targeted responses?

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