5 Design Techniques to Incite User Emotion

Designers have always focused on logical design factors such as meeting web standards, organizing navigation, choosing layouts and fonts. However, design has evolved and inciting user emotion is more possible than ever.

Designers can now give users a complete experience by offering them something more that touches their emotion. Here are some techniques you can use to spice up your user interface and deliver an emotional, mind-blowing user experience.

Add Personality with Comic Illustrations

You might be wondering what’s personality has to do with user experience. Believe it or not, it can have a pretty significant impact on the target audience than you could ever imagine. Personality is what expresses our emotions best. It is the personality that signifies whether you are an amusing, funky, serious, lazy, pragmatic, sincere or down-to-earth fellow.


So, integrating personality in your brand can certainly break the barriers that the consumer usually hit upon while interacting with your products and services. Take for instance MailChimp, which uses a monkey as its mascot. Adding such illustration to its site, MailChimp has shown how to add delight in your design to stir the emotions of your audience.

Show Sophistication with Minimalism

Most savvy designers are familiar with current web design trends. Filter those trends and you will see one prominent trend that’s been making huge waves like a tsunami, and that’s minimalistic design. Minimalistic design gives birth to sophistication which helps you get a step closer to your audiences’ feelings.


One of the best examples of sophisticated design is YourKarma. Behold and be amazed to see how the designer blended simple color palette, minimalistic content and extra-large images to present such a finely crafted piece.

Stir Visual Interest with Parallax Scrolling

The unique thing about emotion is that it’s provoked by leveraging human senses such as their sense of sight or hearing. With parallax scrolling on the roll these days, getting the visual attention of the audience and seizing their interest has become quite painless.


Take for instance Nizo, an amazing example of a mind-boggling parallax scrolling site. Nizo, featuring a single-page layout, captivates the eyeballs of its audience with impressive scrolling effects. Parallax technique is popular not only because of its attractive animation, but the illusion of depth that it creates, rendering users with a 3D experience or with a sense of touch.

Fiddle with One Free Interaction

Humans tend to fidget when they are sitting idle deeply absorbed in their thoughts or when they are feeling nervous or edgy. They tend to show the same behavior when they interact with user interfaces. You can leverage that behavioral pattern and give them something to play with by integrating one free interaction element in your UI. These can include roll-over animations or interactive carousels.


For instance,‘s navigation bar gives users something they can fiddle with. When users roll their mouse over the navigation links, the logo and icons grow and float up capturing the user’s attention.

Spark Sentiments with High-Resolution Portraits

Emotional responses are instrumental in forming connections or bonds with others. That’s why we always prefer to have a face-to-face interaction with others as it allows us to perceive their personality, attitude or traits in real-time.


Nothing allows us to form that connection more with our users than adding high-resolution portraits like that of Andrea Mann on her website. She beautifully uses her classic personal portrait blending it strategically with the background using a monochrome photo filter.

Final Thoughts

There’s a trade-off when implanting emotions in your brand. The thing is you can’t always get the desired emotional response you want since personality differs in every person. However, inciting emotional responses in your audience is better than apathy, which gets you nothing at all. Maya Angelou said it best with this thought-provoking adage:

“People will forget what you said, and what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.” Maya Angelou



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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Arun Sivashankaran Reply

    Really interesting post. I really liked the idea of the free interaction (since I tend to fidget and fiddle quite a bit online :). Have you actually seen that technique improve engagement or reduces bounces on a page?

  2. Simon Reply

    This is good stuff, confirms a few things I have been doing but also helps me make changes and improve. The simplistic designs are certainly becoming more popular especially now sites become more responsive.

  3. David Reply

    I’m sure Nizo stirs visual interest, but I still have no freaking clue what it’s supposed to be.

  4. Hudson Reply

    I don’t think that Nizo site can be considered parallax at all. There is no perceivable foreground/background.

    • Luffy Reply

      That’s the thing buddy… that’s what creating the 3d, in-depth look which is however cannot be perceived if the foreground and background images are easily distinguished…

  5. eeklipzz Reply

    Warning! Parallax scrolling can draw the user’s attention from or to a point on the screen. Be sure when implementing that you consider what the extra movement is going to do to the hierarchical prioritization of the screen elements.

    In other words, if there is a specific point that you want to draw the users attention to, be sure that your parallax scrolling effects do not hinder that goal, but rather compliment it.

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