The designers at UXstudio found themselves pondering about emotions and how they could use their craft to better understand their own feelings.
Having worked with prestigious clients including HBO, T-mobile, Gestalten and LogMeIn, the team of UX designers and researchers were well placed to dig deep into the psychology of emotion.
The questions they asked themselves spurred a side project called emobox, an application that helps you record and improve your emotions through using colour psychology and the Lüscher test.
I talked to Zsófia about the effectiveness with coupling colour and emotion, and how they use user-centered psychology in their UX design projects.
What is the Lüscher test?
The Lüscher test measures a person's psychophysical state, his or her ability to withstand stress, to perform, and to communicate. It does this by using subconscious colour selection as a reflection of a deeper psychological state.
The test is based on how you respond to a selection of colours, choosing your favourite to least favourite in the array. As a result, you get information about your existing situation, your stress sources, your restrained characteristics, your desired objective and your actual problem.
See how you score on this shorterned version by Verlag and Arste.
How did you use the Lüscher test to design your app?
The team at UXstudio started by asking themselves questions on how best to document emotion including, “why do we experience a certain emotion? Why does a feeling return so frequently? Are we happy and optimistic or negative?”.
When they each took the test in the studio, they saw the potential to easily document emotion using colour, commenting that you “don’t have to think too much, just intuitively choose colors. You don’t have to deal with words or definitions”
“Based on the Lüscher test we started to explore opportunities to combine feelings with colors and help the user to easily add his or her feelings. The aim, that it becomes an everyday habit. The findings could help understanding past emotions and maybe trigger some changes.”
What did you learn about emotion that you didn't know beforehand?
Zsófia pointed out that creating emobox was “partially a self-reflection project”. Learning that one emotion was never enough to describe your feelings at any one time. Instead, needing to prioritize some emotions over another to reflect their current state. “Our feelings are definitely much more complex even on an average working day than a simple sad or happy.”
What other psychology or theories do you apply to your UX practice?
“We try to to use what we know about cognitive, social and personality psychology - but not just in the actual design but also in all of our processes, for example in persona creation, recruiting and wireframing.” UXstudio are also interested in the cognitive side of design, taking into account the “user's limitations, including their working memory, cognitive load, visual perception, and affordances, to name a few.” Importantly Zsófia pointed to the benefits of being self-aware of their own biases in their design process.
“All in all I think that in most cases from the research side we can't always keep the hardcore validity of experimental psychology (because of the short timeframe we are working in) and look for statistical patterns but we try to do our best to get useful, valid information about user behaviour in the right place and in the right time.”
UXstudio is a user-centered design studio based in Budapest, comprised of a team of UX designers and researchers. They work internationally with clients including HBO, T-mobile, Gestalten and LogMeIn. Their UX method includes research from the very beginning, creating personas and user journeys. They document their process and methods on their blog.
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