Humankind's pursuit of happiness is not new. Every individual has a right to be happy and do what it takes to be happy. If technology can contribute to our pursuit of happiness, it would be through experiential designs. Web designers, especially UX designers can make a significant contribution to this pursuit through their UX designs. Here are a few ways in which UX designers can use positive psychology to create a positive design, one for happiness.
Understanding what happiness means for the user
The first step in design for happiness is to understand what happiness really means for the users. Happiness could mean different things to different people, but when you think of it in terms of design, UX designers should come to a common understanding of what happiness would mean for their target audience. In this case - it is about making the website usable - in other words, less painful and more pleasurable.
UX takes a Positive Approach to Human-Computer Interaction and has been focusing on creating highly satisfactory experiences for the audience. With this "design for happiness" concept, UX professionals can take their designs one step ahead.
Moving from pleasure to happiness
UXD has been successful in creating pleasurable experiences for the users. It can and is going a notch up to create well-defined, meaningful experiences that last long, inciting a positive feeling in the user. This in a way lays the platform for happiness that people look for. Although a product or a service alone may not make someone happy, the experience that it provides and the value it adds to their life can contribute to their happiness.
The Well-Being theory says that people look at five different factors, independently, to be happy. These are positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishments or PERMA in short. Now people pursue these elements of happiness independently, without any one element being linked to the other. So personal well-being and with it happiness, can be enhanced with any one or all of them being fulfilled. Happiness through PERMA can also be achieved by fulfilling each of the elements separately.
Many people think that what UXD can contribute to pursuit of happiness through PERMA is limited. It may be partly true, but UX designers can definitely consider each of these five elements when designing a page - in short, they can include each of these elements of happiness, thereby creating a usable design for happiness. While money cannot buy happiness, what you do with it can make you happy. Similarly, buying a material product may not make you happy completely, but the process or the experience you have had while buying it can make you happy. And that is what UX designers should keep in mind when designing for happiness.
Supporting positive thinking and behavior
Positive thoughts and acts of kindness, optimism and savoring have been known to create positive thoughts in people and eventually lead them to happiness. UX design can create positive experiences that support thinking and behavior, which support the individual's pursuit of happiness. This is achieved by creating positive experiences and inciting positive emotions through the interactions the user has on the website.