I spent more time thinking about this particular form of joy and its meaning. It’s not the joy I feel while creating but the momentary pleasure or sensual satisfaction that people hopefully experience when interacting with a design.

What is the source of that particular feeling? Does it stem from a sense of achievement or fulfillment when people accomplish what they aimed for in the first place? Or is this feeling solely tied to the sensual layer and aesthetics of the interface?

Can we test and quantify joy from “visual sensation” within graphical user interfaces? How about the interplay and effect on accessibility and usability? What are the criteria to quantify momentary pleasure or sensual delight during testing? I guess there must be such a thing already — time to do more research.

I have to confess that “visual sensation” is not necessarily a term you would employ when criticizing or referring to my creations. People usually have quite different attributes for it. Some call it “rather German,” traditionally Swiss, or minimalistic, some harshly “fun-free.”

So why do we avoid breaking out the crayons or unleashing that spontaneous and unexpected burst of color?

In her TED talk (recommended), Ingrid Fetell Lee explains that: “We all start out joyful. As we get older, being colorful or exuberant opens us up to judgment. Adults who exhibit genuine joy are often dismissed as childish or too feminine or unserious or self-indulgent …”

I think there’s a truth to this, especially when doing creative work in corporate or regulated environments.

I, for my part, pledge more bravery and colorfulness in my creations and would like to encourage acceptance and openness to bright ideas.

„Color, in a very primal way, is a sign of life, a sign of energy.“ Ingrid Fetell Lee