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.