Los Angeles Web Design Community Takes A Note From Dana Chisnell

The Los Angeles web design community received another lesson on user experience and interaction design when the IxDA (Interaction Design Association) hosted Dana Chisnell on July 18. Her lecture: Deconstructing Delight: Pleasure, Flow and Meaning took the audience on a journey across the web by displaying websites which embodied the best aspects of her Delight model. It is a framework that she has researched over the last few years and aims to take just usable stuff and turn it into designs that would really get people engaged in meaningful ways. Let's take a look at what members of the Los Angeles web design community learned.


Pleasure is the first step taken to create a website that delights its users. Pleasure anticipates a user's needs and wants, produces a positive effect and uses visual design and voice. Chisnell used popular sites like Swackett.com, TripIt.com and even Virgin America's on plane safety video to show how visual appeal and responsive user interfaces can please users by garnering a reaction.Evidences of pleasure were noted by:

  • Smiling
  • Exclamations ("Nice!" or "Got it!")
  • Behaving with infatuation.

"The hardest part of this is to do it without feeling fake," said Dana Chisnell in regards to designing for pleasure. In other words do not divide the user's attention between the purpose of your website and its aesthetics.


Flow is the second element of Chisnell's Delight model and perhaps showed one of the most powerful examples of the night. The program Ommwriter (essentially a word processor) was the ultimate example of usability for those who want to feel in control. The program looks like a blank page, plays ambient music and keeps the fonts and features limited as a way to fully immerse the user into the writing experience (the precise reason one would be using this product in the first place). Ommwriter showed how a websites flow should be:

  • Immersive,
  • Empowering,
  • Behavioral (automatic)

When designing for flow, Dana Chisnell asked, "Does it give you perspective?" as one of seven questions to answer when creating your website.


In order to create meaning, your brand must be authentic about its intentions; not just throwing on a tagline. Meaning and engagement are interrelated because for a user they can create senses of both pride and passion for those who are brand loyal. About meaning, Dana Chisnell said, "When you're designing for meaning, you're creating and designing with purpose not just at the touch points but through culture, through intent."


For a final and simplified thought on the evening's discussion Chisnell clearly stated that pleasure is visceral, flow is behavioral and meaning wraps up both. After followed a Q&A session for the audience members to ask Chisnell any lingering questions. The Los Angeles web design community was given a night full of lively examples on how to design with delight. Many thanks to Dana Chisnell for sharing her insights with the LA web design community!Dana Chisnell is an independent researcher currently working on usable security and research methods for social media usability. Through her research she has observed study participants to learn about design issues in software, hardware, web sites, online services, games, and ballots, and helped organizations perform usability tests and user research to inform design decisions for products and services. She co-authored the Handbook of Usability Testing Second Edition (Wiley, 2008) with Jeff Rubin. Dana also ran a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to research, write, and publish a series of Field Guides to Ensuring Voter Intent.About the hosting group: IxDA Los Angeles organizes bi-monthly events about topics related to interaction design. Our events help expose our local community to informative speakers and fun activities. Various companies host and sponsor events in offices throughout the greater Los Angeles area so that all parts of town have an opportunity to participate. Generally, our events occur mid-week, after business hours. From http://www.ixda.org/local/ixda-los-angeles.Did you find this article useful? Try these blogs out!Los Angeles Web Design Community Learns UX With Eric ReissLos Angeles Web Design Community Helps People Learn LESS and SCSS