2016 Affective Engineering / Emotional Design

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Engineering Sciences and Design
Mougenot Celine 
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Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

What separates a great product from average products is in how people "feel" when using it. Indeed the success of a product on the market is not only driven by its "usability" (easy-to-use, useful...) but also depends on its potential to create positive emotional experiences, feelings and impressions.
The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to “affective engineering” or "emotional design" and to show students that a successful design approach combines engineering with human sciences, especially psychology and cognitive sciences.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to :
- understand key concepts, such as product semiotics, product semantics, affect, emotion, feeling, pleasure in the field of design
- describe existing theories regarding the experiential relation between users and products
- analyze the relation between technical properties and perceived product qualities
- apply methods and tools for identifying user needs and for evaluating design solutions, from an affective/emotional perspective


affective engineering, product design, user experience, emotions, perceived qualities

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

In this course, students will explore theoretical knowledge about Affective Engineering / Emotional Experience and will use the knowledge in design workshops, in small groups.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction to Affective Engineering / Emotional Design Discover the theoretical framework of Affective Engineering / Emotional Design
Class 2 Product Semantics and "Perceived Qualities" Understand the value of product design with an holistic perspective
Class 3 Basic Theory of Emotions and Assessment Tools Understand theories of emotions and know tools for assessing emotional reactions
Class 4 Guest Lecture Learning how to assess emotions from postures and motions
Class 5 Designing for Emotional Experience Understand how to design for positive experiences with the "ladder of enchantment"
Class 6 Guest Lecture Understand how "emotional experience" can be assessed
Class 7 Emotional Design Mini-Project Apply skills and to knowledge to a design case study
Class 8 Wrap-up class and final presentations Describe a design case study with an emphasis on the emotional experience


- Pleasure With Products: Beyond Usability (2002) William S. Green, Patrick W. Jordan. CRC Press.
- Designing Pleasurable Products: An Introduction to the New Human Factors (2003) Patrick W. Jordan. Taylor & Francis.
- Emotional Design. Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things (2004) Donald Norman. Basic Books, NY.
- Kansei / Affective Engineering (2010) Mitsuo Nagamachi. CRC Press.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

All materials used in class can be found on OCW-i.

Assessment criteria and methods

Class assignments: 60%
Final assignment: 40%

Related courses

  • MEC.L432 : Human-Centered Design
  • MEC.L431 : Human Brain Functions and Their Measurements
  • MEC.H231 : Design Engineering
  • GEG.P501 : Concept Designing
  • TSE.C203 : Social Design Project
  • ESD.F403 : UX / Interaction Design
  • ESD.A501 : Engineering Design Project A
  • ESD.A402 : Design Thinking Fundamentals
  • ESD.A401 : Engineering Design Challenge
  • ESD.A502 : Engineering Design Project B

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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