Phoebe Stefanidis

Remotionality explores the notion of designing in a way that creates a relationship between the user and the product/ or service and also creating a relationship between the multiple users and designers of the device. 

Relational is defined as “concerning the way in which two or more people or things are connected”,  embracing the relationships and bonds that are created between the users and how they interact with one another. The pathos behind emotions is to form an emotional association between an object or product, hence, emotions are defined as “a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.”

Design has the intention to make people feel! This explains why the same emotion is evoked when an object or product is revisited. For example, if you were to find or pick up your favourite childhood toy of sentimental value; similar emotions would be evoked from your childhood.

When your design influences one’s emotions, the user tends to create a relationship with the product, this is where relations and emotions become interconnected.

Products are designed to induce an emotional response, as theoretically all design is user centred.

The relational side of the tactic can be seen as a means of understanding, exploring, and reimagining in terms of interactions between products and services.

Through design, I have personally understood the importance of creating with emotions and empathy in mind. Developing emotional relationships with users and with specific products allows for a deeper level of understanding when designing. Specifically concentrating on the idea that design is not only about making things beautiful, but about how it makes us feel, how it influences us and our experiences.

Remotionality may represent itself as more of an emotional tactic and method of design, and a feminine way of working and thinking, embracing constraints as opportunities for design rather than obstacles. This heavily relates itself to designing with empathy and consideration for social conditions; including prothetic design, opposed to practical design alone.

The way in which emotional relationships are manipulated can impact a design. Creating emotion in design can assist in learning about the users more effectively, by understanding who will be using the product, we are able to define and alter features to suit these needs or emotional connections. This specific design consideration develops a deeper and more thorough relation between the user and the product, and hence, the designer and the user.

Remotionality thinking can be considered in the late concept stage and throughout the development process. After the consideration of a few concrete ideas, remotionality can take place, helping refine and change the way in which the product interacts emotionally with the user. Colours, materials, textures and other aesthetic qualities help us judge a product and allow us to decide if we we would like to continue interacting with the it.  Throughout the development phase of design, emotional aspects should be considered, including your message as a designer and what the product is intended for.

In summary, ‘emotionality’ is focussed on the users and designers experience with a product and also the emotional interaction that this develops, establishing certainty and a psychological connection with others.

Apple iPhone

“People are seeking out products that are not just simple to use but a joy to use.” – Bruce Claxton

Apple’s iPhone truly encompasses the idea of emotional design, focussing on behavioural design specifically. This translates to a concept that is primarily centred around the idea that design should meet a users needs and requirements, and fulfil their expectations relating to aesthetics and functionality. The iPhones, as we all know, have developed tremendously since they were first released, now focussing on slick, functional and attractive designs, with bold colours, that would appeal to consumers as having the potential for personalisation and personal preferences on their phones. Colour has always linked to emotions in design, enhancing the friendliness of a product; as seen in the Apple iPhone 5c, with five bright colours available. 

The Alternative Limb Project

The Alternative Limb Pro customise prosthetic limbs specific to clients needs, based on their choice between a realistic and an alternative limb. An alternative limb is personalised based on colour, style, mood; all reflecting the individuals taste. This process shows the interaction between designer and user who have both experienced something similar in their life time. This lends the prosthetic to be designed with empathy in mind, and creates a clear interaction and relation between the designer and the prosthetic and also the designer and the user, as their journey in creating this product is shared, both emotionally and physically.