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Negative emotions in using digital products and how to avoid them

Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the seasons of our lives are functions of the emotions predominant within us. From the breath-taking lofty mountain top view to the sullen feeling most experience at some point in their lives, emotions govern the way we feel.
As with most things in life, emotions can exhibit both polarities, from positive to negative. Also, emotions can be triggered through each of our five senses, and this in turn can trigger other responsive emotions. This article considers in detail the negative emotional triggers that sometimes occur when we use online products such as web apps, software, and even mobile apps.

What are the negative experiences?

As earlier stated, various emotions can be sparked via various triggers, and these causative factors can occur in various forms. One form of emotional trigger this article considers is those induced by user experience while using a digital product. In particular, we will consider only negative emotions.

Have you ever been so frustrated while using a website or a mobile app or any digital product that you felt like smashing your laptop or computer into the ground? In instances like this, it becomes quickly apparent that there is a fundamental flaw or glitch in your user experience of the product.

The more complex products get, should consideration not be given to the ease, and effectiveness of their UX strategy, then they become recipes for customer frustration. So at the core, it becomes evident that the occurrence of negative experiences while using a product is a UX design flaw in the grand scheme of things.

Top reasons why surfers can experience a negative experience from your product

As explained in the previous paragraph, negative emotional experiences are a UX responsibility. Also, it is important to note that these flaws can occur in various forms in products, and some of these are listed below:

  • Option Dilemma:

    This is evident in the fact that most apps/ products that have a plethora of products tend to leave users more frustrated than enlightened or informed. This negative experience can be mitigated by executing a focused approach to product development. A classic example of this option dilemma is the case of Yahoo vs. Google strategy in their search engines. While Yahoo home page was trademarked by various ads, options, news, and content, Google kept its home page minimal, with nothing but the search bar there.

  • Limited logical flow/ease of navigation:

    Fewer things can be more frustrating than trying to find a particular feature you know exists in a product. The experience can be super frustrating as users are left wasting valuable time finding the desired feature. So, it is once again shown to be a UX issue of utmost importance.

  • Unsatisfactory service:

    Another top reason why users experience negative emotions while surfing is when your product fails to deliver value as promised. This often leaves them feeling angry, betrayed and even depressed at times.

  • Inadequate feedback or support service:

    Regardless of your field, nothing can replace good customer support in the digital space. So, customers experience less negative emotions if there are helpful resources to answer all their questions speedily.



How to avoid negative experiences

For your business or your firm, the negative user experience could be lethal. This is because most businesses thrive of the word of mouth marketing and are thus more volatile to negative user experience during their formative year. Should the negative experience persist, it could spell death for the business.

So, it becomes a priority for both designers and users to identify and enumerate the causes of negative user experience within the product. Some of the most popular thoughts around avoiding negative user experience include but is not limited to:

  • Eliminate all potential conflicts:

    Should a particular feature induce some controversy or prove to potentially deter users from using your product, then it is wise to remove such features or at least make them optional. One classic example is forcing customers to provide their personal information or details before using your product or service.

    Equally, it is essential to identify flow disruptions in the product and seek to minimize them. A classic example of these flow disruptions are ads and compulsory account creation. If it is not necessary, eliminate it, otherwise, reduce it. Although it could create a marketing scare, it is wise to keep the users coming back, and this cannot be achieved if all they get is frustration while using the product.

  • Know your customers:

    Most often than not, design teams are tempted to design products assuming their users are just as tech-savvy or smart as they are. Although this is the case in a few instances, in most cases, it is not.

    So, it becomes critically important for you and your team to drop all forms of technical jargon and explain concepts and ideas to users in the most basic manner. It is often said that designers should design their platforms for use for a third-grader.
    Besides, in as much as it is essential for design teams to know their customers, it is equally vital to pre-empt what they truly want or desire from the product. This helps the team narrow down on that single feature and make it central to the product offering.

  • Use appropriate information architecture (IA):

    Although most digital products possess the information and resource they claim to, their ease of navigation vary greatly. Some more efficient than others.

    Thus, as designers, using the appropriate information architecture tools such as card sorting, systems thinking in generating the sitemap is critical to avoiding negative emotions during UX. A considerable portion of the negative emotions derived in UX comes from not being able to find a particular feature or tool they need at the moment they need it. So using the right IA tools would go a long way in minimizing negative emotional experiences in using your product.


The more complex products get, should consideration not be given to the ease, and effectiveness of their UX strategy



With the recent negative rapport developed around the use of digital products and their negative effect on society, drastic informative steps should be taken to improve this tale. One of the upper rungs this article rests on is that product designers need to be aware of the wide range of emotions their products induce before they can proceed to avoid these emotions.



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