There’s a curious brain hack at work here. Our minds are deeply tied to emotional states. Being frustrated or happy changes the way we approach problems. I have certainly been in a bad mood, gotten confused by a product, and found myself repeatedly smashing a button to no effect. In my frustration, I try the same thing, justharder. But it doesn’t help me accomplish my goal.
When we’re happy, using an interface feels like play. The world looks like a puzzle, not a battle. So when we get confused, we’re more likely to explore and find other paths to success. There’s a whole book on this topic: Emotional Design by Don Norman. But here’s the important bit: Getting design details right can create positive emotional states that actually make products easier to use.