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Feelings Management

In every experience you build for end-users, you invoke a spectrum of feelings in them, whether you intend to, or not.

From pure anger or frustration, through confusion, indifference and even happiness. Every user experiences something, in every action he or she is taking inside the product's boundaries.

Users usually "travel" through all or part of this range of feelings, in every screen they face - desktop, TV or mobile. Not everything is perfect for them and not everything is horrible... Usually...

How to control this at product design? There is no magical way to completely avoid the negative feelings the use of the product can create. We want to keep the users on the positive side of the spectrum, with minimal "travel" as possible. 100% success is impossible, and that is true for both 100% of the users and 100% of the workflows. The key is to create a "critical mass of feelings" at one side of that spectrum, the positive side, so even the less-positive workflows or experiences, will be insignificant, forgotten.

People will experience different aspects and workflows of the product and eventually will say the bottom line - "this is fun", or "this is boring", "this is difficult to handle" or "this is intuitive".

In my mind this "critical mass" is even bigger than the User Experience, it is the Product itself. My view of "A Product" is that it is more than just a physical collection of features and code, it is the perception in users' minds, created by the synergy of features, business terms and a marketing story.

'Perception' is the important word in that sentence... How do you create a certain perception? how do you "manipulate" peoples' thoughts or feelings? It is mainly about your audience, you market, the people that you are trying to influence, getting to know them, how they think, what they want. Less about you and what you hold. It is with good reason we use the term "User Experience" and not "Product Experience". The focus is on the audience.

I have mentioned in a previous post my prediction that as technology evolves and it will be easier to achieve the technicalities of Product Management by different computing capabilities, this profession will be more and more about figuring out the way people are interacting and feeling about products and less about the way the product itself is built or designed.

In an instant world like ours, where excitement is rate, multi-tasking is common and you can basically do everything from the phone in your pocket, the Product Managers need to think more about their users' experiences and the feelings they invoke in them.

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