The Emotional Design of Computers

How does your computer make you feel? It might sound like a silly question, but really think about it. It’s not just about how the machine functions. When you bought your computer, you didn’t just look at the processing speed and storage capacity. You wanted to use it; you wanted to see how it felt….

How does your computer make you feel? It might sound like a silly question, but really think about it. It’s not just about how the machine functions. When you bought your computer, you didn’t just look at the processing speed and storage capacity. You wanted to use it; you wanted to see how it felt. Was it comfortable to type on it? Did the user interface feel “natural”? Could someone who never opened a laptop before figure out how it worked? Computer design represents a microcosm of why emotional design matters.

The Early Years

Computers have been in use around the world since the mid-20th century, but for a long time they were large, cumbersome machines that required a great deal of expertise to use. Even when they were introduced in offices, they were often greeted as unwieldy devices that were difficult to understand and not very user friendly. Computers were functional, but they felt cold, distant, and inhuman.

The Interface

This all changed in the 1980s with the introduction of friendly user-interfaces. Working on a computer became more natural and felt more tangible. Gone were the obscure punch cards and codes of the past. Now it felt like the computer’s operating system was something that could be understood. The feeling was entirely different. Eventually, you could personalize your background, customize your folders, and make your computer feel like your own.

My Computer, My Life

Today, people buy a computer and can literally talk to it, touch it, and carry it with them. The emotions associated with a laptop are typically excitement and power rather than fear and confusion. The essential function of the machine hasn’t changed much in 30 years, but the way people feel when they hold it in their hands certainly has, and that’s the kind of emotional bond that StudioRed helps your product make with the consumer.

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