Aarron Walter once suggested Maslow-inspired hierarchy of user interface concepts:

The interfaces we design must first be functional – they need to solve a problem for us. Next, they need to be reliable – no fail whales please. Our interfaces need to be usable – easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to remember.

The piece we often overlook is the pleasure. It’s at the core of culinary arts, but we find it far too infrequently in the web apps and websites we use daily.

My take – times are changing quickly.

When pleasurability was as an unexpected bonus, we could get away with just “working” and “usable”. It’s a great challenge in complex software products on its own. Now “pleasurable” is the entry ticket. Aarron, please come up with more stages for interfaces to grow.

Pleasurability apparently has deep roots:

Babies create bonds with their parents through an interesting feedback loop. When they cry their parents respond by soothing them, which releases calming neurotransmitters in their brains. As this cycle repeats, the baby begins to trust that their parents will respond when they need them.

A similar feedback loop happens in interface design. Positive emotional stimuli can build a sense of trust and engagement with your users. People will forgive your site or application’s shortcomings, follow your lead, and sing your praises if you reward them with positive emotion.

That’s where the magic of beautiful objects works. People unconsciously reach out for them to feel warm but don’t realize/admit just that. We seek logic to cover emotion.

Aarron leaves me with a question, though – you know I’m biased. People who can afford Apple products but don’t see the need to “overpay” for them (so end up buying a dell) are those who under-received maternal love? Or over-received? ;)

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