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Deconstructing Happiness: Where Happy Endings Begin

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Designers wield great power when it comes to people’s well-being: we can generate excitement, bring joy, provoke anger or trigger anxiety – sometimes all in the same interaction. From the big decisions about a product’s purpose all the way down to the myriad pixel-level arguments lost and won, we have a great responsibility to safeguard the happiness of the users we serve. But what do we really know about the nature of happiness? And how can we actually make everyone happy?

In her keynote address from Chicago's World IA Day 2015 event, Kathi Kaiser deconstructed the concept of “happiness” and offered designers a framework for considering the emotional impact of their work. She explored the meaning, dimensions, and pre-conditions of happiness while examining the wide range of satisfying outcomes and their implications for design. Drawing on recent research in psychology as well as real-world design examples, Kathi helped attendees know when and how to evoke joy, humor, reassurance, comfort, and other positive feelings by providing guiding principles for the pursuit of happiness.

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Deconstructing Happiness: Where Happy Endings Begin

  1. 1. @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX Deconstructing Happiness: Where Happy Endings Begin World IA Day 2015 Kathi Kaiser Centralis
  2. 2. 1. Introduce yourself to your neighbor 2. Tell them what made you happiest this week Hi! What makes you happy? 2@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  3. 3. What made me happy this week: 3@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  4. 4. What makes me Happy In Life: 4@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  5. 5. Happiness is universal, personal, and varied. 5@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX
  6. 6. Deconstructing Happiness 6@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX 1. Can we make people happier? 2. If so, how?
  7. 7. Can we make people happier? 7
  8. 8. The argument for no :( 8 Our genes set our level of happiness... …and thanks to hedonic adaptation, we’re never satisfied.
  9. 9. Positive psychology “We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise that achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in individuals, families, and communities.“ -Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi The case for Yes! 9
  10. 10. Subjective well-being = + frequent positive affect + infrequent negative affect + high life satisfaction An Operational Definition of Happiness 10
  11. 11. Where does happiness come from? 11 50% “Set Point” - Genetics Lyubomirsky, S, Sheldon, K.M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111- 131.
  12. 12. Where does happiness come from? 12 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances Lyubomirsky, S, Sheldon, K.M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111- 131.
  13. 13. Where does happiness come from? 13 Lyubomirsky, S, Sheldon, K.M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111- 131. 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances 40% intentional activities
  14. 14. Where does happiness come from? 14 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances 40% intentional activities Half of what makes people happy can be impacted by design.
  15. 15. Can we make people happier? 15 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 10% circumstances
  16. 16. Can we make people happier? 16 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 40% intentional activities
  17. 17. Can we make people happier? 17 50% “Set Point” - Genetics 40% intentional activities Subjective well-being = + frequent positive affect + infrequent negative affect + high life satisfaction
  18. 18. Can we make people happier? 18 Happy-o-meter
  19. 19. Deconstructing Happiness 19@kathikaiser @Centralis_UX 1. Can we make people happier? – YES! 2. Ok, so, how?
  20. 20. A Framework for Happiness 20 Camaraderie Exhilaration Comfort Achievement
  21. 21. Efficiency A Framework for Happiness 21 Engagement Dimension #1: “I enjoy doing it!”“I enjoy that it’s DONE.”
  22. 22. Efficiency A Framework for Happiness 22 Engagement Dimension #1:
  23. 23. Efficiency A Framework for Happiness 23 Engagement Dimension #1:
  24. 24. Predictability A Framework for Happiness 24 Novelty Dimension #2: “Ooh, I didn’t expect THAT…”“Yep, that’s what I’d expect.”
  25. 25. Predictability A Framework for Happiness 25 Novelty Dimension #2:
  26. 26. Agency A Framework for Happiness 26 Abandon Dimension #3: “Ahh, you got this…”“I GOT this.”
  27. 27. Agency A Framework for Happiness 27 Dimension #3: “It’s all in the rhythm. I just love cooking. Always have.
  28. 28. Agency A Framework for Happiness 28 Dimension #3:
  29. 29. A Framework for Happiness 29 Dimension #3: Abandon
  30. 30. A Framework for Happiness 30 Dimension #3: Abandon
  31. 31. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 31 Abandon Efficiency Engagement Predictability Novelty
  32. 32. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 32 Abandon Efficiency Engagement Predictability Novelty “I enjoy that it’s DONE.” “I GOT this.” “Yep, that’s what I’d expect.”
  33. 33. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 33 Abandon Efficiency Engagement Predictability Novelty Design principles: • Be transparent • Use conventions • Empower people
  34. 34. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 34 Abandon Efficiency Engagement Predictability Novelty “I enjoy doing it!” “Ahh, you got this…” “Ooh, I didn’t expect THAT…”
  35. 35. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions 35 Abandon Efficiency Engagement Predictability Novelty Design principles: • Establish trust • Encourage discovery • Lead people
  36. 36. Agency Dimensions of Happy Interactions Abandon Efficiency Engagement Predictability Novelty Design principles: • Be transparent • Use conventions • Empower people Design principles: • Establish trust • Encourage discovery • Lead people
  37. 37. + Frequent Positive Affect 37 Happy-o-meter
  38. 38. + Infrequent Negative Affect 38 Bad usability kills happiness.
  39. 39. Subjective well-being = + frequent positive affect + infrequent negative affect + high life satisfaction An Operational Definition of Happiness 39
  40. 40. + High Life Satisfaction 40
  41. 41. The Final Word 41 We can make the world a happier place, one interaction at a time.
  42. 42. @kathikaiser @Centralis_UX Thank you! World IA Day 2015 Kathi Kaiser Centralis

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