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Identifying core UX values and design opportunities for mobile experiences

Research conducted in collaboration with Samsung Electronics (Seoul, South Korea)

This project aims to identify the core User eXperience values and design opportunities that can guide the innovation process of developing mobile devices and services (e.g., smartphones, apps, tablets, smart speakers, wearable sensors, etc.). The approach is experience-driven: A set of users’ needs were specified that are relevant to enriching mobile experiences. The set was used as a framework to assess mobile devices and services, generating insights into the areas to improve. In addition, key enablers that are crucial for the implementation of mobile product-service systems were identified that encompassed the areas of artificial intelligence, camera, sensors, etc. Taking the users’ needs and key enablers into account, a series of design opportunities for mobile devices and services were proposed.

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UnBlock: An interactive toy that promotes subjective well-being through improvised creative play


  • Faulk, J.D., Dewey, C., Oluwadairo, O., Aguiar, C., & Yoon, J. (2020). Future Memories: A Case Study for Design-Mediated User Well-Being. Architecture Media Politics Society (AMPS), Tallahassee, FL, USA.
  • Oluwadairo, O., Faulk, J.D., & Yoon, J. (2020). UnBlock: An interactive toy that promotes subjective well-being through improvised creative play (Manuscript in preparation)

UnBlock is an interactive toy that encourages spontaneous play with a canvas, timer, and a set of open-ended prompts. Creative play is an effective means to promote well-being. However, people often find it difficult to enjoy it because of some barriers such as a lack of motivation, time, and limited resources. Unblock is designed to reduce barriers to initiating creative play and to help the user concentrate and reflect on the enjoyment of the play experience.

When the user lifts the block, a simple written prompt such as “hide” and “secret dance” appears for five minutes. The edges illuminate and then begin to slowly dim over 5 minutes, serving as a visual timer. During this time, the user may write, draw, or perform some improvised act inspired by the prompt. Using a chalk marker, the block itself becomes a canvas, which can serve as a visual reminder of the experience later. With an insignificant time-commitment and simple interface, the positive experiences can be stimulated and reflected upon for a longer period of time. UnBlock would fit well within coffee shops, waiting rooms, or educational settings. Many blocks could exist in a single space, or only one through which a variety of activities may emerge, with some affording group collaboration.

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Purpal: An interactive box that enables positive mental traveling

Purpal: An interactive box that enables positive mental traveling


  • Li, S., Hao, Y., & Yoon, J. (2020). Purpal: An interactive box that up-regulates positive emotions in consumption behaviors. Presented at the CHI Late-Breaking Work on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Honolulu, HI.

With emerging new technologies, the ways we buy things have become quicker and more transient: one-click or scanning, then all set. While efficient and useful, unfortunately, research has shown that it inadvertently influences people to mainly focus on material acquisition rather than being appreciative of experiential values—the joy of thinking about what they want to do with the purchased items or why the items are important to them. The pleasure sparked by material gain wears off quickly, failing to make people happier in the long run. 

Pupal, a self-administered behavioral intervention technology, can be used when a user plans to spend money on something such as a hobby, gift, education, travel, or just a new cloth. When a user pushes the button, the device shows an adaptive question about the item the user intends to buy. Examples are: What do you want to say when you offer it?, How does this event contribute to your relationship?, What’s the first thing you want to do when you get there?,  Where do you want to put it?, What’s the first thing you want to do with it?, and  Who do you want to show it first?

The purchase intention can be communicated to Purpal by choosing an experience category represented by an RFID embedded card. The questions are printed on a small piece of paper that the user can put in her wallet or stick on a board, which allows the pleasure of answering the question resonate. In this way, Purpal enables, supports, and inspires people to engage in savoring their positive experiences that can be mediated by the items to buy, eventually enriching their purchasing experiences.

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Design for Happiness Deck

Research conducted in collaboration with Delft Institute of Positive Design

  • Desmet, P. M. A., Pohlmeyer, A. E., & Yoon, J. (2018). Design for Happiness Deck.Delft, Delft University of Technology. ISBN: 978-94-92516-86-2

Repost from Delft Institute of Positive Design

To design for happiness sounds like a grand undertaking. Some might even say an overly ambitious one – but we disagree. We believe that explicitly focusing on customer happiness is an indispensable part of user-centred design and, ultimately, a reliable predictor of a design’s success.

The Design for Happiness Deck is a tool that you can use to tap into the vast potential of lasting wellbeing. Use it to break down the seemingly overwhelming phenomenon of happiness into manageable components that offer you a direct doorway to ideation and analyses of your design project.

Based on the Positive Design framework developed by Pieter Desmet and Anna Pohlmeyer, these three card sets explore three essential aspects of designing for happiness:

  • Pleasure – happiness that comes from enjoying the moment
  • Personal Significance – happiness derived from having a sense of progressing towards a future goal and from the awareness of past achievements
  • Virtue – happiness that is the result of morally valued behaviour

For each aspect, a fine-grained overview of 24 potential manifestations is provided – 24 shades of pleasure, 24 human goals and 24 virtuous character strengths, combining to a total set of 72 cards.

By considering these concrete units of human experience, you will immediately be able to challenge the wellbeing prospects of your future designs. We leave it to you to decide how and when to use the card sets – to inform your research, trigger new ideas, get specific about targeting wellbeing, justify your design decisions, or simply inspire your team.

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EmotionPrism: The development of a design tool that communicates 25 pleasurable human-product interactions

Research conducted at Delft Institute of Positive Design

  • Yoon, J., Pohlmeyer, A. E., & Desmet, P. M. A. (2018). EmotionPrism: The development of a design tool that communicates 25 pleasurable human-product interactions, Journal of Design Research, 15(3/4), 174-196.

Some products are routinely described as “nice”, but what lies beneath that word? The range of positive emotions experienced in human-product interactions is multifarious. Differentiating positive emotions (e.g., joy, love, hope, and interest) and having an awareness of associated expressive interaction qualities (e.g., playful, careful, persistent and focused interaction) can support designers to influence users’ interactions in a favorable way. The emotionPrism is a design tool for designers to gain a better understanding specific positive emotions and related expressive interaction qualities. EmotionPrism is a collection of movie-sets that represents 25 different positive emotions in dynamic hand-object interactions, combined with theoretical descriptions of the emotions. Designers can use the tool to envision and discuss what kinds of interactions would be appropriate or desirable to incite and to select a set of relevant positive emotions accordingly by referring to the set of information as a repertoire to choose from.

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Interactive emotion exploration toolkit

Research conducted at ID-StudioLab and Delft Institute of Positive Design (Delft, the Netherlands)

  • Yoon, J., Pohlmeyer, A., & Desmet, P. (2016). “Feeling good” unpacked: Developing design tools to facilitate a differentiated understanding of positive emotions (pp. 266–274). Presented at the 10th International Conference on Design and Emotion – Celebration and Contemplation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

This interactive playground is a package of three emotion-specific experience setups, ‘Assurance’, ‘Enjoyment’, and ‘Interest’, each of which enables designers to explore three similar positive emotions in an interactive way (nine emotions in total). In an interactive installation, design students can actually feel particular positive emotions and explore the differences by interacting with the installations. We assumed that in line with Buchenau, M., & Suri, J. F.1, offering firsthand experiences of particular positive emotions in a physically staged setup could give a visceral sense of differences between those emotions. This want meant to let designers bodily experience several emotions, and reflect on what caused the emotions, and how they reacted. The installation served as a platform of discussion.

  1. Buchenau, M., & Suri, J. F. (2000). Experience prototyping (pp. 424–433). Presented at the the conference, New York, New York, USA: ACM.
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Towards a holistic design for subjective well-being

Researcher: Roby Michelangelo Vota
Involvement: Research advisor (chair: Dr. Stella Boess)
Research conducted at ID-Studiolab (Delft, the Netherlands)

  • Vota, R. M. (2015). Towards a holistic design for subjective well-being. Delft: Delft University of Technology.

In current approaches to Design for Sustainable Behavior (DfSB), the main focus is on “mitigating, controlling or blocking unsustainable or inappropriate behavior by users”. The concept of sustainability appears limited to restraining the environmental impact of behaviors, often at the detriment of people’s subjective well-being. However, personal and environmental well-being are not only compatible but even mutually supportive aspects of sustainability. Hence, a research was conducted to explore how design can address environmental sustainability and subjective well-being as complementary aspects of sustainability. Through observations of sustainability-related design activities, a series of key factors influencing the design approach emerged. Focusing on the factor ’empathy towards people’s positive experiences’, a design method and a set of design tools and techniques was developed to validate the effects of an experience-driven approach on the positivity of Design for Sustainability. The proposed method was built around three key points: (1) positive experiences as the focus of preliminary design explorations, (2) empathic understanding of the components and mechanisms underlying the experiences, and (3) exploration of short- and long-term effects of experiences on both personal and environmental well-being.

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The mood street, creating design interventions that support flight attendants

Research conducted in collaboration with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

  • Desmet, P. M. A. , Fokkinga, S.F., Ozkaramanli, D., & Yoon, J. (2016). Emotion-driven product design. In: H. L.  Meiselman (Ed.). Emotion measurement (pp. 406-426). New York: Elsevier.
  • Yoon, J., Pohlmeyer, A. E., & Desmet, P. M. A. (2014). The mood street: Designing for nuanced positive emotions (pp. 707–716). Presented at the NordiCHI, Helsinki, Finland.

The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines wanted to introduce products and services in the crew center that evoke positive emotions to improve the mood of flight attendants just before boarding the airplane. At the beginning of the project, 10 positive emotions were chosen to design for, which guided the design process: anticipation, confidence, energized, inspiration, joy, kindness, pride, relaxation, respect, and sympathy. For each emotion, several ideas were generated. Because the emotions differ in terms of causes and behavioral effects, with interviews, observations, and creative workshops, the designers explored when and why flight attendants experienced each of the 10 emotions, and how these emotions contributed to their professional activities. The gained insights were translated into a collection of 30 designed interventions, three for each emotion.

Two examples are “Good Night” and “The Curtain”, which were designed to evoke kindness and anticipation, respectively. Good Night is a smartphone application that enables team members to help each other to be on time when they have early flights. The application is aware of the schedule of a flight attendant and automatically sets the desired wake-up time for each team member. At wake-up time, the application gently reminds the team members to check who might still be asleep by showing each member’s state, and, if necessary, signaling to give them a friendly wake-up call. In this way, the flight attendants kindly look after each other and feel connected even before they meet. The Curtain intends to stimulate positive anticipation for the upcoming flight. As the flight attendants walk from the crew center towards the airport gate, the closed curtain slowly opens and lights around the curtain frame glow, one by one. When the lights are on, the curtain is completely open. This moment builds up a feeling of expectancy and signals that they are ready and prepared to go “on-stage.”

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Playing with paintings to enhance museum experiences in Mauritshuis

Researcher: HungChu Shih
Involvement: Research advisor (chair: Dr. Arnold P. O. S. Vermeeren)
Research conducted in collaboration with Mauritshuis Museum and Kiss the Frog (Delft, the Netherlands)

  • Vermeeren, A. P. O. S., Shih, H., van der Lan., Calvi, L., Yoon, J., Keller, I. (2018) Designing trajectories of experience: In museums, around museums, or including museums. In: Vermeeren, A. P. O. S., Calvi, L., & Sabiescu, A. (Ed.). Museum experience design: Crowds, ecosystems and novel technologies (pp. 301-323). Springer international publishing.
  • Shih, H., Yoon, J., & Vermeeren, A. P. O. S. (2016). Positive emotions for inciting behavior: Playing with paintings to enhance museum experiences (pp. 222–230). Presented at the 10th International Conference on Design and Emotion – Celebration and Contemplation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Vermeeren, A. P. O. S., Shih, H., & Yoon, J. (2016). Design for experiences beyond the museum: Classical paintings as an introduction to modern culture. Presented at the CHI ’16 workshop.
  • Shih, H. (2015). Treasure Hunt in the Museum: Design for a New Way of Exploring Dutch Art and Culture in the Mauritshuis. Delft: Delft University of Technology.

One of the current trends in the function of museums is the change from a single museum to connected museums or museums as part of large institutional ecosystems. In terms of designing for experiences, this trend implies that one no longer only designs for visitors’ experiences before, during and after museum visits, but that one should think in a more holistic way. This project explored possible implications of the above trend, based on a case of designing a mobile application (an app) for the Mauritshuis, a museum for classical art in the Hague, the Netherlands. The design of the app aimed at providing its visitors with a more engaging way of appreciating the classical Dutch paintings, at the same time, raising interest for and connecting visitors to modern Dutch culture.  The app contains the function of giving travel tips to the young adult travelers for exploring the Hague by means of a game ‘treasure hunting’. The treasures to be found are elements in famous as well as less famous paintings that connect to stories that are interesting for the young adult travelers.

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Redesign of bright stamps for Chinese market 

Researcher: Lin Fu
Involvement: Research advisor (chair: Prof. Dr. Jan Schoormans)
Research conducted in collaboration with IceMobile (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

  • Fu. L. (2015). Redesign of Bright Stamps for Chinese Market. Delft: Delft University of Technology.

The project was conducted in collaboration with IceMobile to investigate opportunities of using a digital stamp-based loyalty program in China. The stamp-based loyalty program is one of the basic and mostly used loyalty program types in Europe. With the popularity of smartphones, digital stamp program has become a new trend in loyalty marketing industry. The research focuses on the characteristics of Chinese consumers’ shopping behavior and shopping experience in supermarkets, and the determinants of a loyalty relationship between customers and retailers. A model of building loyalty relationship between a Chinese consumer and a retailer was proposed, based on which an app “easy sharing and early bird discount” was developed. The app intends to stimulate a sense of belongingness and engagement by making the experience social and vibrant. The app enables customers to share digital stamps through QR code scanning and offers a dynamic discount for customers by which they can redeem earlier with fewer stamps in limited time periods.