Designing for Emotional Expressivity

Ståhl, Anna (2005) Designing for Emotional Expressivity. Licentiate thesis, Umeå University.

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In our daily lives we communicate emotions not only in face-to-face situations, but also in the digital world. When communicating emotions to other people we are not always aware of exactly what we are expressing. Emotions are communicated not only by the actual words we say, but through physical expressions like gestures, body posture and tone of voice. Designing for emotional expressivity requires a design that can capture the characteristics of emotions as well as the subjective experiences. This design should also mirror the communicative reality that we live in and open up for personality, context and situation to be expressed. In order to explore emotional communication in the digital world we have designed, implemented and evaluated eMoto, a mobile service for sending text messages that can be enhanced with emotional content. In this thesis we will present a detailed description of the design process, including user studies, leading to the design of the emotional expressivity in the eMoto prototype. Through the use of a body movement analysis and a dimensional model of emotion experiences, we arrived at the final design. The service makes use of the sub-symbolic expressions; colours, shapes and animations, for expressing emotions in an open-ended way. The results from the user studies show that the use of these sub-symbolic expressions can work as a foundation to use as a creative tool, but still allowing for the communication to be situated. The inspiration taken from body movements proved to be very useful as a design input. From the design process and the user studied we have extracted four desirable qualities when designing for emotional expressivity: to consider the media specific qualities, to provide cues of emotional expressivity building on familiarity, to be aware of contradictions between the modalities, and to open for personal expressivity. Incorporating these qualities open up for more expressivity when designing within this area. The actual design process is itself another example that can be used as inspiration in future designs aiming at emotional expressivity.

Item Type:Thesis (Licentiate)
ID Code:412
Deposited By:Vicki Carleson
Deposited On:21 Nov 2006
Last Modified:18 Nov 2009 15:56

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