TOUCHY / FEELY is an exploration of emotional ergonomics
to help build empathy for user centered design
Traditional ergonomics focuses on the physical relationship between human and objects. Designers and engineers ask themselves ergonomic questions like: How will someone grip this hammer? How much force will someone need to twist open this jar? How will someone sit in this chair?
While these kinds of technical questions are essential to design, this book explores the emotional experience of ergonomic interactions, what we are calling emotional ergonomics. In our everyday lives, gestures and interactions can symbolize deeper emotional states. These will be different for each of us, as we bring our own memories, references, and stories to each experience. We ask: How can gestures evoke emotion? Where is the boundary between feeling and doing? How do our interactions with objects betray or illuminate our unconscious desires?
As traditional ergonomics focuses on the physical interaction between human bodies and objects, emotional ergonomics pushes us to consider this interaction as a complex dialogue between body, object, heart, and mind.
We can only understand an ergonomic interaction if we understand the context in which it occurs; we can only understand how people touch and feel objects if we also understand how the objects touch us, and make us feel.