Sharp, “Affective aspects”

In this chapter of Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, Sharp, in short, “describes various interaction mechanisms that can be used to elicit positive emotional responses in users and ways of avoiding negative ones” (p. 214). He opens his discussion by defining the notion of “affective aspects,” including a thumbnail sketch of the history of human-computer interactions and emotional response, noting that, rather than exploring ways to get a computer system “to show an emotion to a user,” this chapter will “consider how interactive systems can be designed to provoke an emotion within the user” (p. 182).

Much of Sharp’s exploration of this topic is pretty straight-forward–so much so that, to be honest, I found a fair amount of it pretty obvious (and maybe a little cranky and catty, too). I did, however, find Sharp’s consideration of the controversial debate around anthropomorphism in interaction design–which I didn’t realize existed–to be thought-provoking. I’m curious enough to start keeping an eye out for how human or non-human any device/program/etc. is “acting.” I also found helpful the brief listing of the kinds of negative responses that poor interface design can elicit in a user: “mak[ing] people look stupid, feel insulted or threatened” (p. 189).

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