When designing software we tend to be focussed on the “overall look and feel". That is the combination of the visual design, or the UI and usability.
However, as technology steadily progresses, digital products, be it hardware or software, are becoming more simplified and usable.
So what does this mean for design? Are we all heading towards a monotonous, standardized wasteland of templates and patterns?
Well, maybe. But if products intend to stand out from their increasingly capable competitors they'll have to utilize a much more delicate element of design: emotion.
Products that are designed with emotion in mind have the ability to 'delight' their users, surfacing positive emotions. This, in turn, encourages frequent engagement which transforms a functional product into a pleasurable one.
Below are a number of examples of how design elements can be used to delight.
Mailchimp - If you continually click MailChimp’s high five hand, the hand will start turning red.
Gilt.com – When entering your email address in the sign up form, the domain name will autocomplete for the common domains.
Google Hangout – When you type “Happy new year” at the start of the year, a cute, fun animated GIF will display in the conversation.
Medium – The feed cards highlight how long an article will take to read.
Digiday – Articles have a ‘TLDR’ (Too Long; Didn’t Read) button to summarise the article for you.
Google Hangouts - When anyone asks `Where are you` in the conversation, a ‘share your location’ button automatically appears.
Google Translate - When to listen to the translation audio for the second time it is dictated at a slower speed.
For more great examples of the little details that make big differences, check out http://littlebigdetails.com.