The emotional signature

To many, the field of customer and user experience seems highly esoteric and intangible. With something so subjective, how does one even begin to quantify these things…?

And it is correct – for us to act upon, and seek to improve, the user experience, we must first know what we’re talking about. Fortunately, we actually do.

To begin with, we know that as much as half of any decision to purchase is emotional in nature. This means that this portion of the reason to buy something isn’t based on a logical weighing of price, specs, durability or any of the other practical factors most people also take into account – this portion is based on how we feel about the product, or the purchase process, or the store, or any of dozens of other factors that influence us emotionally.


Through observation of and dialogue with users and customers we can make usable knowledge out of this information – tools that we can bring to bear on this specific part of any business, just as finance have their tools, and production have theirs.

This is a tool I’ve built:


This diagram is the “show me the money” part of UX, a simple depiction of why being attentive of your customer is vitally important to your business.

It maps out how the user/customer experience leads to an increase in value and loyalty (which itself increases value) on the axes, and displays the four main emotional stages and their associated feelings.

We call this your product’s emotional signature.

For example, our least favourite stage in the lower right corner is “REJECTION”, accompanied by major feelings that bring it on – quite simply, if you annoy, stress, ignore or disappoint your user, she will reject your product or service.

This, of curse, creates negative loyalty as well as a net decrease in value; thanks to a disappointing or annoying user experience, your product is now worth less.

The situation gets progressively better as we manage to get our customer to feel stimulated, curious, appreciated etc., right through to finally creating a feeling of genuine customer happiness and creating a true-blue advocate for our product or service.
This is the emotional signature you want your customer to associate with you, and if she doesn’t you want to know where on the scale you are,  why, and how to improve it.

It’s important to note that the value increase along this trajectory is in actual, real money – I will be getting back to that part in a soon-to-come article…

Update: – at long last there’s an article in the archives, about why those customers in the upper right part of the figure are worth more money: Because they are loyal, and loyal customers are the bread and butter of any business. 

Update II: – here’s another article about loyalty as a driver for the bottom line.