Epidemic of Emotionless Experience Design

As I’ve discussed many times on this blog, customers experience interactions across three dimensions, Success, Effort, and Emotion. So how effective are companies at proactively designing for those elements? Not very.

In our latest CX management study, we surveyed 252 companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues and asked them about their experience design effectiveness. As you can see in the graphic below:

  • Only about one in 10 companies is very good at proactively designing for any aspect of customer experience.
  • More companies are good at designing for success (completion on interactions) than effort or emotion, but less than half of companies consider themselves good in this area.
  • Emotion is the weakest link, as only about one-third of companies think they are good at proactive emotional design.


If companies don’t improve their experience design skills, then their customer experience will never be better than inconsistent. And the biggest problem is emotion, which happens to drive the most loyalty.

If you want to fix this problem, we’ve got some help. Keep an eye on this blog for a new Temkin Group report on emotional experience design, which we’ll be publishing in a couple of weeks.

The bottom line: Join the Intensity Emotion Movement!

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

3 Responses to Epidemic of Emotionless Experience Design

  1. Bruce,

    Love the article. I would say it is extremely frustrating when companies have a cluttered website that is difficult to navigate. Consumers are going to find what they are looking for the easiest way they can.

    -Brian F

  2. As a qual researcher, the obvious question to ask when faced with this survey feedback from organisations is “Why?” Why is designing for positive emotion so much harder than functional or ease-of-use?
    My hypothesis (based on 15 yrs of qual research into CX) is that it’s much more subjective and hard to measure. Functional experience has things like conversion rates, basket drop-outs, etc. whilst ease-of-use has proxies like time taken, no. of clicks as simple metrics to support UX design simplicity.
    in contrast, emotional measures are harder – one person’s “quirky” is another person’s “frustrating”! I can love that ‘eccentric’ experience for its old-fashioned charm when I have time on my hands, and yet another day, the warmth gets washed away when I’m in a hurry, and leaves me feeling tetchy at their inflexibility.

    Emotion relies on context, and so the safest way to handle it is to empower your employees to have the freedom to respond within a brand framework but in empathy with customer situation (think Nordstrom here). That’s a brave place for an organisation to be, which is why few companies feel confident about achieving it.

    So that’s my hypothesis! Who’s up for disproving it ?! 🙂

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