Emotional Intelligence – An Unconventional Way to make Delightful Mobile App Experiences

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Emtec Digital Think Tank

July 24, 2018

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Emotional Intelligence-An unconventional way to make delightful Mobile App experiencesArtificial Intelligence (AI) has spread its roots into our digital lives both personally and professionally. It has powerful implications across departmental and industry boundaries, enabling exceptional customer support experiences, unprecedented analytics capabilities, powerful internal efficiencies through intelligent automation and more. AI, however, lacks the ability to contextualize information like human beings – processing and acting on emotional components. This is called Emotional Intelligence (EI).

According to Wikipedia- Emotional Intelligence “is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).”

The next step for AI will be to infuse emotional intelligence (EI) to imitate human reasoning. If this is made possible, it will have major implications to our lives.

From a mobile solutions perspective, the incorporation of EI elements into the development process can make for more engaging, creative and personalized experiences. When designing applications, instead of focusing primarily on features, usability and interaction should be key goals. The design should reach out and really connect with the audience to induce a positive reaction. At the start of the initiative, the mobile app development team should first take into consideration what is useful and what will really serve as a value-add to the target audience to create a better presentation of products and services.

How can emotions be incorporated in a mobile app? The answer lies in aligning EI with the UX design.

Aligning EI with UX Design

Emotional intelligence is the secret (behind the scenes) ninja that will make your app “viral” in terms of branding and usability. There is no clear definition for an effective and convincing UX design – it will depend on the target audience and product as well as the platforms that connect the two. In the design phase, primary points of utility and intuitiveness are considered. The user experience should be refined and smooth, focused on current user needs and the latest trends.

The modish users crave constant additions to app features and updates. The application owner’s challenge is in retaining and engaging these users over time as there are abundant distractions available in the marketplace. So, it is important to create the sense of reliability and trust through regular updates of the application or service.

As I had said before, UX design is based on intuitiveness. So, analyze the audience for what excites them, motivates them, catches their attention, etc. This will help to you mold emotion into the app, thus driving increased loyalty and patronage over the long term.

Another crucial factor is the presentation of holistic designs that are not framed based on aesthetics alone. Remember, design will not always help the app’s performance and usability. There’s a famous quote from Steve Jobs “You’ve got the start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology- not the other way around”. He taught the world about using emotions in applications. He demonstrated that emotions and emotional designs form the foundation for winning a lifetime of brand trustworthiness.

In terms of usability and responsiveness, minimalist and simple designs can absolutely work too. Let’s consider Google. It is not the flashiest of design —just a simple text box with 2 buttons. However, they build excitement through the promotion of graphic doodles from time to time. And guess what? It works. It engages visitors when they stumble upon them and even imparts some education to those that click through.

Think of EI as the soul that breathes life into your applications. It will shape the personality of the app and make it enjoyable and engaging to users.

As much as the design and core content of the app is important, developers also play a major part in improving the basic concept thought through the ideation and design phases. An example could be collecting data (text, speech, audio, visuals and more) for further enhancing the user experience. Steve Jobs also said “The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have!” Developers should also help identify the latest technologies that can be used to enhance the application further. Designers and developers need to ensure that the mobile application development process includes psychological/technical factors irrespective of the domain (e-commerce, multimedia, gaming or social network) to further enhance the user experience:

  • Positivity: Adding the elements aligning with user’s interest
  • Attention: Sticking to the core point while creating a positive perception
  • Anticipation: User’s journey from viewing the product to placing the order
  • Theme and Animation: Highly engaging animation depending upon user demographics and interests
  • Personalization: Modifying application behavior based on demographic factors and individual usage

The easiest way to include EI within mobile UX is to collect inputs from multiple sources including audio, camera, sensors, etc. The unstructured data collected from these sources will provide you with patterns to help recognize different emotions. As an example, Natural Language Processing (NLP) can be baked into a voice-based user interface for better understanding and increased user engagement. Image processing via facial recognition can provide insights on what emotional strategies will win user satisfaction.


Intelligent automation powered by Artificial Intelligence and now EI are poised to drive amazing user experiences via mobile. When designing and delivering a mobile application experience, having a fresh approach and creating an empathetic interaction via emotional intelligence will better cater to users’ needs and drive application loyalty.

The future of mobile is emotional! If you would like to learn more about imparting Emotional Intelligence components into your enterprise or client facing applications, please contact us.

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