Audience & Markets

When I began my thesis journey, I had this blurred image in mind. It’s where people can potentially use my designs, and feel an emotional resonance. During the process of my thesis development in last semester, I found my audience seems surrounding me all the time. As I did more research in the winter, I found a more clear image of my audience and where they are. My thesis is exploring the value of irrationality, I think first I should talk a little about the status of rationality in our life. 

1. People in a society like this

We are in a society requiring people to have a stronger mind. Why? there are three reasons.

First, this is a scientism time (Scientism is a belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or the most valuable part of human learning—to the exclusion of other viewpoints). We naturally pursue rationality, logic and objectivity. But the way science and logic work, doesn’t mean that they meet our psychology needs. For example, you might have to accept the fact that you are not as clever as the kid next door because that kid has a better gene, but you would never feel good about the truth. In the sci-fi series Start Trek, Vulcans chose to give up their emotion, because it gets in the way of social development. 

Second, there have never been as many Atheists and Agnostics in history as in our time.  The 2015 Pew Religious Landscape survey reported that as of 2014 , 22.8% of the American population is religiously unaffiliated. And according to Statista, one of the world’s most successful statistics databases, Research found that nearly twice as many Americans in 2014 said they did not believe in God as in 1980 - and that five times as many in 2014 said they never prayed, with millennials in particular accounting for the change in public opinion. Alain De Botton,


    the author of Religion for atheists: a non-believer's guide to the uses of religion, one of the biggest function of religion is consolation. However, for a world where there is no god, people “let go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle, or just charming rituals for which we struggle to find equivalents in secular society.”

    Third, for people who live in big cities, although "the city everywhere has been the center of freedom and toleration, the home of progress, of invention, of science, of rationality. ” The inventor of urbanism, Louis Wirth, describes the city as a “Substitution of secondary for primary contacts, the weakening of bonds of kinship, the declining social significance of the family, the disappearance of neighborhood and the undermining of traditional basis of social solidarity. ” which indicates the cause of“social alienation.” I’m going to read more articles on social alienation, and see if I can find more information on the psychology effect of “social alienation.” 

    2. People who may have these behaviors

    I’ve talked about the background of my audience, but if you don’t fit in, it doesn’t meant that you are not the audience. from a micro perspective, you may have these behaviors:

    1. You always know or understand the reason or the results to do something, but you emotionally don’t want to do it.
    2. You have to say to yourself, “Be rational!”
    3. Privacy makes you feel safe, but you don’t know when to give it up in exchange of emotional connection

    These people may frequently have these emotions in their life:

    anxious, embarrassed, awkward, jealous, left out, aggrieved, conflicted, lonely

    I want to ask them:

    1. How do you understand “rationality,” “emotional” and “irrational”
    2. How do you think of superstition, intuition and subconsciousness
    3. Do you have any moment you feel conflict between your emotion and rationality? 
    4. How do you think ofyourself when you have the emotions I mentioned above?
    5. What impact do you think the society has on your inner conflicts?

    3. Second Audience

    I also want to introduce my thesis to designers. Although “emotional design” is used in many design theories, but the word “emotion” always have a positive meaning. However, I want to step into the more “dangerous” side of emotion—the “irrational.” Irrational always have a negative connotation. In this world,irrationality usually means wrong decisions, losing control and craziness, but I think designers shouldn’t be afraid of this word. As long as we explore even a little more, we will find it so amazing that how many emotions we ignored to take care of and irrationality itself has been a most important part of our life.

    In the coming days, I will interview designers about emotional design, and ask them:

    1. How do you understand “rationality,” “emotional” and “irrational”
    2. What kind of emotion are your design work taking care of?
    3. What products do you feel emotional resonance to and why?

    I hope to collect these information to create the persona of my audience.

    Xumeng MouComment