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"Synch with me": Rhythmic interaction as an emerging principle of experiential design

Frank Spillers

Emotion based research has accelerated in the area of product development and design, signaling a turning point in the pursuit of functional, or purely usability driven research approaches. At the heart of emotion design techniques is a desire to tailor deeper connections between users and experientially designed products and services. As product design becomes increasingly competitive in the age of the iPhone, designers are required to create products that “synch” with users, maintaining the emotional bond with users as they complete their tasks, achieve pleasurability (Jordan 2000; Cayol and Bonhoure 2004) and user satisfaction (Han and Hong 2003).
This paper will explore a central element of successful emotionally engineered designs: rhythm. Rhythm will be explored as it exists biologically (Wild, Darrouzet, Kahn and Stucky 1995), socially (Bardram 1997; Reddy and Dourish 2002) and temporally (Spillers and Loewus-Deitch 2003) in the context of user interactions, emotions and product appraisals (Desmet 2002).


Rhythm, Synchrony, Resonance, Social Rhythms, Temporal tasks, Entrainment, Emotion Design, Pleasurability, Product Interaction, interaction design