affective design

Exploring Emotional Design

Designing Emotional Software

Donald Norman has a post on his blog about how he helped H&R Block create their new tax software tango based on Emotional Design principles… The idea behind tango is to improve the experience of completing a task that everyone has to do, but that very few of us enjoy. Preparing taxes in traditional tax software has tended to be a relatively linear process, and it will be interesting to see if this new way of organizing tax software will take into account common tax preparation mishaps like missing slips and incomplete information.

I haven’t had a chance to look at the beta of the software yet (the sneak preview page wasn’t active at the time of this post), but the aesthetics and messaging of the page suggest that it has some of the story elements of a film rather than the open-ended structure of a website.

The conflict in the “story” of tango revolves around a true cinematic cliché. The IRS has taken something of yours. And (insert Austrian accent here) you’re going to get it back. According to the tango blog, a lot of work was done centered around perfecting the voice or personality projected by the tango text, which is in keeping with the notion of products as personalities as mentioned in Reeves and Nass and Fogg.

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