Blog / UI and Design / App Development

How to Create an Emotional Design for Social Media Network? 5 Useful Tips

  • Rating — 5 (4 votes)
  • by Ksenija Kolomiiets
  • Updated on September 24, 2020
  • Read —
    13-14 minutes

Usually, the designer tries to show the most positive aspects of using the product. As a rule, all harmful elements are minimized or completely removed, which improves ease of use, but the user does not always have a positive impression. To be truly happy, he must get some pleasure, which means you need an inspirational design. This kind of design can evoke emotions in the visitor, usually positive ones – delight, joy, and satisfaction.

Today this type of design solution is becoming more and more popular. The emotional design provides tremendous competitive advantages as it is visually appealing and engages users and acts as a trigger. This approach in web design is based on the use of experiences. It builds on the emotional reaction of users when interacting with a website.

At the stage of developing a layout, designers imagine the final result in their heads. They put certain emotions into it, but in practice, interfaces often remain “alive” only on paper.

This article will show you how to create a catchy UI for any niche and use the right leverage to influence the audience.

What is emotional design

Any interface is designed to solve people’s problems and be useful. In the case of social networks, the benefits will be determined by the target audience. An emotional user interface is a graphical product that combines uniqueness and convenience. It allows you to establish a strong connection with your audience and create an attachment to the application.

The background of the page and its elements should convey a particular emotion. In most cases, emotions should be positive. Still, for example, when creating a social network for Tesla car owners, first of all, the application should demonstrate status and laconicism in the interface. At the same time, the social network for football players will focus on something completely different. As you already understood, for different audiences, the message may be other: joy, sadness, delight, or anger.

How do you tell a well-designed interface from a bad one? There are some criteria, but the most important is to check the interface for emotionality. If a website or app doesn’t convey emotion, it is useless. The user will not be imbued with the essence of the product, the connection with the company will not be established, and the platform will be quickly forgotten.

A beautiful cover, but not evoking emotions – what repels users in the first place and cannot fulfill the client’s tasks. Based on our rich experience, the message that a digital product broadcast is laid down at the development stage. It is essential for us, as a developer, to get a portrait of the target audience from the client and to outline the primary emotions that he / she wants to put into the site or application.

The product becomes “alive” thanks to the meanings that the designer puts into it. It is essential to understand that emotionality should not appear after testing the interface. If the user is unable to use a menu or other control, they will feel frustrated and angry, but this is not your goal. Emotions are part of the story that a designer conveys through content and graphics.

Serf&Yoga app

The interface above perfectly illustrates the purpose of emotional design. The site fits perfectly into the concept according to which the user interacts with the product depending on the contextual messages embedded in different UI parts. It should provoke to join this community and become athletic and happy.

How to choose emotions to fill the interface

The most important task facing the designer is to correctly convey the qualities that are close in spirit to the social network’s target audience.

We will discuss future development with the client to accurately understand the user’s portrait to whom the product is targeted. The client does not require a full-scale report with a detailed description. Before starting the development, we have a discovery stage, which gives a deep understanding of the market and the target audience that will benefit from this product. So at the beginning of the discussion, a few phrases from the client are enough for us: “We are developing an application for those who want to be in contact with their neighbors constantly, advertise their services among those who are nearby. The interface should be modern and user-friendly. Primary emotions: friendliness, cheerfulness, satisfaction. “

The designer usually strictly fulfills the terms of reference and tries not to deviate from the stated conditions. In the case of the app for neighbors, in addition to the described emotions, you can add more comfort and safety. After meeting new people, you should feel safe and at ease.

Screens of Bestyn app

The look and feel of the social networking app for neighbors are excellent. The designer has correctly placed accents, and maximally adapted the content to convey the right emotions. The background color creates a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.

Particular attention should be paid to user avatars, which are located on the map, which allows you to see who is next to you immediately. The UI should be as simple and straightforward as possible.

  • It’s easy to choose emotions that a digital product will convey. Follow a few simple steps that we do for our clients during the discovery stage:
  • We communicate with the client and listen to all wishes for design and functionality.
  • We study what emotions your future product should evoke; in this case, a social network, it is worth investigating similar platforms. To find out what excites users and what emotions they usually experience when interacting with your niche elements. 
  • For a while, we put ourselves in the shoes of your target audience. This approach helps to look at the future product through the eyes of the user. 
  • Competitor analysis dramatically helps to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
  • We collect the information received and present our vision to the client. At such moments, we usually discuss non-standard ideas and theories that can take us to a higher level.

It is essential to understand that emotions are problematic in most cases, not just anger or sadness, but a mixture of different feelings that are difficult to describe in one word. Most designers take a raw feel and start designing an interface.

Thanks to these promo videos, users can see that the company has spent a lot of money developing a custom application, shows pictures from real profiles, and takes care of customers.

To evoke more emotion in users, it is worth using animation. This is not a requirement since Well-chosen static pictures that convey the given emotions to the audience and evoke particular desires in people’s work. Speaking of the Bestyn app, there are so many cool and convenient features here: at least take the fact that you can organize an event with nearby houses or invite your neighbors to use your home renovation services, etc.

The designer chose the right emotions and did not make many screens, but on the contrary, they sought to make the platform laconic and as functional as possible. Long landing pages and lots of pictures and icons have not been trendy for a long time.

Already have a social media network in mind?

Emotional design tools

There are various tools to connect with your audience. Next, we want to analyze the main ones for understanding that the interface is not just a set of graphic elements, but a “living” organism. It works according to certain conditions set by the designer and programmer.

#1 Colour

The color concept is a basis for creating an emotional connection. This is the foundation of a future project that will benefit the company. The correct choice of color determines how the audience will perceive the product and what emotions users will be charged with.

For example, here’s our Sparkle app. Sparkle Chat aims to transform time killing into time spending by preserving the fun and bringing new connections. Here you can find public chats going on nearby or at your exact location and join them. Turning strangers into neighbors can bring a lot of benefits after all. 

The client came to us with only an idea to connect people nearby with a chat when they need to kill time. We grew this idea into something bigger, a social network where you can easily turn strangers into neighbors.

Sparkl app

The design of the application deliberately uses yellow and orange colors. They convey emotions of fun, friendliness, playfulness, and comfort. Positive emotions will blend with a clean, white background, making the rest of the visuals even more contrasting.

One-color is not enough to establish a strong connection between the product and the target audience. At the same time, a lot depends on the correct choice of shades. Use other tools to strengthen communication.

Need help with selecting  features that will be a perfect fit for your solution?

#2 Words

If the color is the basis of everything, then words are additional tools without which it is sometimes difficult to convey the main message. Correct text prevents the visual image from falling apart and creates the effect or completeness.

Text is an important signal that tells the audience what the designer wanted to show with color and graphics. Words will rarely be superfluous in the example with the Time Will Tell project (another version of the social network developed by us), a beautiful and attractive application. One phrase enhances emotionality and provides useful information.

Time Will Tell App

The text’s correct presentation determines the set of sensations that visitors will receive after getting to know a digital product. The right emphasis, balance between visuals and descriptions, fonts, and typography combine to create a coherent picture.

The main message of this digital solution is Message Capsulation. This is the main function of the app. It allows users to create a custom Photo or Video message, set the time of activation, seal it and send to contacts you want. When the time comes the message will be unsealed so the recipient could read the letter. Therefore, on the first screen, we see the phrase “Time will tell,” which is intriguing and gives an understanding that it is somehow connected with our future.

The high-quality design is not just a beautiful cover. It is a funnel that will effectively suck in users and leave them no chance to go without conversions.

Five design tips

Emotional design requires maximum concentration and working intuition from the designer. Therefore, when communicating with a specialist, find out how much he understands the atmosphere that will envelop users at the time of acquaintance with the application or site and recreate it step by step.

We’ve put together helpful tips to help you figure out which side to approach your new UI strategy.

Take care of the convenience
Colorful pictures, animation, and other features are cool, but you shouldn’t forget that users value convenience most of all. No amount of unique technology and content delivery will save a poorly designed app or site. If the animation interferes with the usual perception of information, delete it. Try to keep menus and other essential elements as simple as possible. You can add a nice appearance effect for navigation, but you can’t hide it behind two clicks.
A good interface shows people how the product works in action. Users do not need to figure out how to customize the application or use the menu on the site. Therefore, the product design must show the product from the right side. The graphical “shell” should be nothing more than a catalyst that accelerates the process of familiarization with the solution, which will become an everyday tool.
An app or website should be built on more than just emotions. A product becomes useless if it fails to engage the audience in daily use. In the digital world, the competition is enormous, and your project must hook the user. Try to design your interface so that the main focus is on useful properties. Illustrations, dynamics, and other tricks combined will not give strong emotions as a simple mechanism that saves users time. After all, a social network is not only chats, exchange of photos, or videos. Today, social networks are especially appreciated, which can be useful in finding a fellow traveler, sharing experiences among like-minded people, and so on.
This is an engagement method that involves communicating with the target audience in the form of a game. People are often challenged and piqued by various bonuses. For example, after a certain number of posts, additional functions are opened to the user. The main benefit of gamification is that it works for any audience. Even people who are far from games are involved in the process and perform all the designer, marketer, and other specialists’ tasks.
Immersive design
This approach is relatively new and is not yet actively used, but this approach provides a complete immersion of the user into the essence of the product. This feature of the interface is mostly the responsibility of the programmer. Thanks to advances in technology, many operations on smartphones can be performed with gestures or even voice. The user is maximally involved in control and feels almost like an airplane pilot. If you supplement the immersive effect with beautiful animation and non-standard illustrations, users will interact with the “live” interface.

If you think the social media market is overcrowded, then this is far from the case. Niche social platforms are gaining more and more popularity that unite people according to their interests, for example, a social network for fishers, where fishing enthusiasts post photos of their catch and share the secrets of success. Or a social network for Tesla owners, where people discuss their love for electric cars and feel like they are involved in something big.

Our company has vast experience in the development of social networks, among them there are such as a social network for a DJ, for lovers of yoga and a surfboard, for those who do not want to kill time alone. Still, you can go to a chat and chat with someone, which is far from the whole list of ideas that we have implemented. One of the landmark projects is the Bestyn application, which you can get acquainted with either in the App Store or the Play market. This multifunctional application has a great future.

Let’s take a look at what team is needed to create a truly high-quality solution from scratch: Business Analyst, Server Administrator, Designer, HTML / CSS, Android Developer, iOS Developer, PHP Developer, Manual QA Engineer, Automated QA Engineer, Project Manager. We will not consider each in detail now but dwells on the designer, namely how many hours it takes to design a social media app. According to our calculations, the average number of hours spent on design is 137 hours. But this figure may vary depending on the customer’s design requirements. As for the cost of design development, it is $ 2,740.

Our company employs highly qualified specialists, thanks to which we provide turnkey development services. If you have an idea, but there is no team, and you have no idea where to start, we are always glad to help you.

Ready to start developing your social media platform?
The time it takes to build a site depends on the complexity of the solution. If you have a deadline, we will work hard to meet it. The most common cause of delay is the content (text/images) from the customer.
Potentially. It’s best to have a chat with us to let us know what you’re currently working with and what your requirements are for this update.
Yes, we offer support, a lifetime option is possible. You can make changes at any time with the help of our developers. You will also have access to the admin panel, through which you can also make changes yourself.


Ksenija Kolomiiets Expert & Evangelist in business optimization tools like fintech, logistics, on-demand services apps who will help you to understand the core ideas of the outlined themes by my articles. I also have great expertise in social media and education platforms so let me know "in comments" if you want me to describe a theme you're interested in.

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