Users drive UX design, therefore their behaviors and feelings are chief among a designer’s concerns. That emotional connection is tricky to pinpoint, but once it’s been found, it makes a world of difference. As a designer, how can you use both your emotions and those of the user to improve your work? Here are a few ways these psychological factors play a major role in design:

Tapping into emotion in UX design is a lot like psychology
While the act of perceiving emotions is often associated with intuition, there are more reliable, scientific ways of approaching it. Designers know the process of researching to understand certain people, just as much as a psychologist would, as Rubicore’s founder Nana Dooreck explained.

Instead of using guesswork and hoping you understand the audience, you need to tap into your consumer base’s emotions through dedicated study, using surveys, interviews and market research to understand how customers are feeling and how you can best use that information to fuel your design.

Using emotion helps you maintain the integrity of a design
Writing for UX Magazine, Intuit’s design strategist Amanda O’Grady says that in companies both big and small, designs often go through layers of approval, and they tend to become a shell of their original concepts as they go. In many cases, this turns a great design into much less.

“Emotion in UX design works beyond establishing the connection.”

If, however, designers have put heart and soul into their concepts, as O’Grady explains, they’re in the position to persistently fight for their intentions and maintain that original greatness. O’Grady recommends breaking down the design into parts so stakeholders and other partners can better understand your intentions and how your choices are meant to attract users.

Forging connections can build customer loyalty
Perhaps one of the most important roles of emotion in UX design is how it works beyond establishing the connection – it also helps maintain it for much longer. However, the first challenge is forging that connection.

Memeburn, a website focused on digital news, explained that in a saturated market of mobile apps, developers and designers face a particular difficulty to stand out to consumers. That’s where emotion becomes essential. Understanding how you need to reach out to your audience equips you to produce better, more effective designs.

The next challenge is making sure that connection lasts. Memeburn compares this to an experience in an art museum, when a visitor lingers on a certain painting instead of another because of the emotional attachment. As an example, the site suggests using wit and humor to engage your audience and help them better remember your site or app over others.