Rustbelt Refresh Recap (Part 4) – Beth Dean

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Beth Dean – Emotional Intelligence in Design

In regards to a term Beth Dean utilized during her panel, called “emotional intelligence”, she gave a great presentation that focused more on the psychology of certain design choices, in contrast to the technical benefits of certain features that assist a site, similar to what Derek and Wren have previously introduced. This was a very unique outlook on the way certain designers can experience a personal disconnect from the websites they create by developing them to complete the main objective, while disregarding the human being viewing the site.

To provide a specific example of how emotional intelligence was neglected through online applications, Beth spoke openly of the death of her mother from almost a decade ago. Throughout the healing process and slowly overcoming the struggle of that loss, she continued to get bombarded every mother’s day through her e-mail regarding promotions to purchase a last minute gift for her mother or something along those lines. While she mentions getting used to it slowly over time, there are cases where people shouldn’t have to deal with this type of spam if they wish not to. Other people might experience similar situations when they receive travel promotions for a trip they planned for a funeral, or something else that could potentially trigger a negative emotional response. There are many ways to take emotional intelligence into account when designing a new campaign to promote, and that is to consider the five characteristics of emotional intelligence Beth mentioned in her presentation and on an article she posted a couple of months ago:

  1. Self awareness
  2. Self regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. People skills

By utilizing emotional intelligence in your designs, you can create a more positive experience for all potential users while remembering that the human doesn’t leave a person when they go online. As Beth stated in the article above, “No one can ever be fully aware, but designers have to be open to growth and the possibility we’re wrong. Less up and to the right, more up and to the heart.”

To learn more about Beth Dean’s work regarding emotional intelligence and how to utilize it properly on the web, read this article by her that expands further on the topic. You can also give her a follow on Twitter (@bethdean) or take a look at her website for more work she has conducted.

Check back soon for Part 5!

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