On the products and experiences that make us happy

DS 87-8 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 8: Human Behaviour in Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Yang, Xi; Aurisicchio, Marco; Mackrill, James; Baxter, Weston
Series: ICED
Institution: Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Page(s): 499-508
ISBN: 978-1-904670-96-4
ISSN: 2220-4342


The study of happiness is receiving increasing attention both in positive psychology and design. A key issue in current literature is the lack of empirical evidence linking products and happiness. We address this examining 87 reports of product-mediated happy experiences and analysing their relations to well- being. Six types of products with experiential attributes were reported to contribute more systematically to happiness. Digital devices and food are the two dominant products followed by vehicles, books, clothing & accessories and sport equipment. These products make us happy by creating: hedonic experiences in which we relieve stress, get rest and increase joy; and eudaimonic experiences in which we establish positive social relationships, develop self-identity, achieve personal growth and gain competence and autonomy. In such experiences, products acted as carriers of reflective meanings, and enablers of experiencing. These insights provide an initial mapping of the relationship between products and happiness and suggest approaches to designing products that can bring happy experiences.

Keywords: Happiness, Well-being, Experience design, User centred design, Human behaviour in design


Please sign in to your account

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties. Privacy Policy.