affective design

Exploring Emotional Design

Design for Emotion and Flow on Boxes and Arrows

Over at Boxes and Arrows, they’ve just published an article I’ve written discussing how to design interfaces that encourage the creation of “flow“. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term “flow” to describe the mental state where all of the subject’s attention is captured in their activity. During my master’s research, I realized that flow was related to the physiological dimension of emotion, and to designing for emotion. I’ll be reproducing the article here in the future, but for now you can find it over at

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    3 Comments so far

    1. Lynn Marentette August 7th, 2008 2:32 pm


      Your article is a good overview of “flow”. I have a few of Csikszentmihalyi’s books, including one about creativity, that I have found useful.


    2. trevvg August 7th, 2008 2:42 pm

      Hi Lynn,
      His book on Creativity is great! I used it as a blueprint for the major thinking and problem solving I did with my master’s thesis. It definitely required some faith to let the “subconscious” do its thing, but worked very well.

    3. Daniel Reeders September 9th, 2008 8:43 pm

      Great article – good enough to get me to register for B&A just in order to comment, although I decided against commenting there. I’m not sure about the Causes, Characteristics, Consequences model; it’s just a temporal structure (before, during, after) and doesn’t cast a great deal of light on the concept of flow.

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