Understanding the Seductive Experience

“Understanding the Seductive Experience”, a really good paper by Khaslavsky and Shedroff defining the seduction theory in the field of captology or the use of persuasive technology. According to this paper, seduction has always been a part of product design, whether graphic, industrial, environmental, or electronic. Seduction involves a deep connection with the audience or user’s goals and emotions. Examples of everyday objects, like French industrial designer Phillipe Starck’s juicer (see Figure 1) and Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake’s fashions, go beyond mere visual innovation to engage human emotions such as curiosity, surprise, and imagination. These objects go beyond the obvious and are more than what they need to be.

The basic steps toward seduction are:

  • Enticement. Grab attention and make an emotional promise;
  • Relationship. Make progress with small fulfillments and more promises, a step that can continue almost indefinitely; and
  • Fulfillment. Fulfill the final promises, and end the experience in a memorable way.

The first step is to get the audience’s attention, then to make an emotional promise.This can be done only by going to an extreme of some kind. The next and most important step is to reward for the attention given and create a relationship that lures the user to come back. This step is where the quality of interaction design is more important such that the product is fulfilling based on the function and feel. The longer it captivates the user, the more successful it will be. The final step is to end it, leaving the customer with a good feeling.

A seductive experience gives users richer experiences at every level from initial exposure to more advanced use, and make users/customers more likely to stick around and grow with the product.

The six steps for seductive experience in software development involved: knowing what the users wish to buy and experience, look ofr aspects that build meaning and emotional relationship between users and the software, correlate these aspects with the users’ aspects and consider it your priority, understand the examples of seductive design to use as inspiration, get help from a visionary designer or developer and make quality and amazing characteristics priorities among development team members.

Thus, seductive theory, tells us how we can make the user want the product and keep on using it without getting tired or bored of it over a period of time.

“You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it” (in Bartlett [1919] 2000).

Khaslavsky, J., & Shedroff, N. (1999). Understanding the Seductive Experience. Communications of the ACM, 42(5), 45-49.


Can “WOW” Be a Design Goal?

“Can ‘Wow’ Be a Design Goal?” asserts that a wow product is one that customers strongly desire because it creates unexpected needs and promotes a greater sense of control over the external world. Wow is a user experience that exceeds users’ expectations, an experience which awes the users and makes them blurt out “wow”. An experience, an user falls in love with. Many instances of Paypal interface design and user testing are to discuss the actual meaning of “Wow” in designing.

Designing products which make users go “Wow” is about creating  products that meet the needs of the users and make them unacknowledged or unexpected needs. It makes them feel want to have it, like the example of keyless entry to cars, where users wanted to go back to using keys. Wow products give the users control or make them feel in control over what is happening around them. The example of parents getting access to their children’s paypal accounts and knowing their spendings. The children were excited about it and didn’t think of it as intrusive as it was a way of gaining their parents’ trust. Furthermore, design factors like providing proper feedback, alluring or inviting the users to play around and creating novel interactions that were never imagined earlier.

Wow product or wow experience is one that the user has not perceived earlier and makes the user want the product like a precious possession.


Hudson, J. M., & Viswanadha, K. K. (2009). Can “Wow” Be a Design Goal? Interactions, 16, 58‐61.

Lecture – Design documentation

The lecture  provided a clear understanding of the core aspects about creating a design document for a project. Design document serves as the bible for any project, providing the analytical and design functions of a project to the stakeholders, designers and clients. A design document clearly identifies needs and establishes the requirements, the conceptual and physical design specifications. It outlines the systematic approach for design and development of a project. It tells the story about the physical and conceptual development of the product.

The first step in designing a product to identify the needs and wants of the users. Then, prioritise the needs and consider the wants. The whole design process is iterative in which the requirements are established, prototype is created and evaluated, problem areas in the design are identified, revised prototype is created and again evaluated, again redesign is done if problems identified and finally the final product is created which is free from errors or issues. The first step or the base of designing a product is identifying the needs of the users, this creates a strong base for the project and decreases the chances of failure in the design.

Jo showed many examples good design that were functional, fun and awesome. The EXO Reaction Housing solution was the best of it all, that gave a very practical and important option for housing needs during natural disasters. It solves the housing problem plus, the storage and use is very easy and apt. Then, there was the chair example which made learning a less of a drab and more fun and focus. I learnt how classic designs became solutions, designers being inspired by classic objects to create innovative and practical solutions. Designing is about identifying the problems and learning from mistakes. It is about learning from mistakes and existing solutions, evaluating and designing and re-evaluation and designing to get an ultimate solution.

I learnt about the various types of design documents such as style guides, storyboards, flowcharts, style boards and scripts. Design document is a systematic and organised approach to all the aspects of a product. A design document outlines how your product will look and how valuable it is conceptually.