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Jun 8, 2016

Emotional design for HMIs

Authors: Burmester, M., Hermosa Perrino, C., Koller, F. (2015)

What experiences do manufacturing staff perceive as positive? How can positive emotions be promoted with the help of UX design? These are the questions answered by a study conducted by User Interface Design GmbH and the HdM Media University. The study is based on interviews with eight staff members from different fields of manufacturing, who were interviewed regarding emotionally relevant work results. Then, content analyses were conducted and the results assigned to categories. Based on these results, the study derived design principles for good user experience.

"A positive user experience is not only relevant for consumer goods. In manufacturing, too, functional and pragmatic as well as emotional aspects have to be taken into account when designing the human-machine interface. Positive experiences create opportunities for joy of use. This is not only beneficial for employees: People who feel good about their job are more motivated, committed and perform better," explains Cristina Hermosa Perrino, who conducted the study for HdM and UID.

News Emotional Design 2 780
News Emotional Design 780

The approach

The study is based on interviews with eight staff members from different fields of manufacturing, who were interviewed regarding emotionally relevant work results. Then, content analyses were conducted and the results assigned to 17 categories. Based on these results, the study derived design principles, which can be used to promote positive experiences and emotions.

Example

Experimenting, adjusting and optimizing a machine is perceived as being positive by manufacturing staff. Trying out different approaches to solve a problem or optimize the machine is a special challenge for the workers. When they master it, they perceive themselves as being competent and effective. In order to give workers a feeling of competence, the HMI should support experimenting and optimizing.

The manufacturing staff should be given the opportunity to use their expertise instead of working through instructions to solve a problem. By displaying interesting information and correlations it is possible to arouse the users' interest and motivate them to keep experimenting. This can be achieved by, for example, displaying possible functionalities or approaches, connecting the users with a community of experts or granting them access to a database of successful solutions.

The study originated from the associated partnership of UID and the Design4Xperience research project promoted by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as part of their research initiative Mittelstand Digital ("SMEs go digital").