Creating and Leveraging Emotional Investment

Larry Marine


It is widely known that customer journeys improve as a function of emotional engagement, but there are few discussions on specifically how to promote effective emotional engagement. One method that has proven successful is to create emotional investment.

Rather than relying on organic reactions to emotional content, as is customary in many UX designs, I will discuss an approach that generates emotional investment that intrinsically motivates users to perform desired behaviors that increase user and website successes.

There are 4 basic types of emotional investment opportunities:

  1. Create something of value
  2. Personalize something
  3. Immediate feedback interaction
  4. Compare things

A typical customer journey includes many opportunities to create emotional investment, yet many UI’s fail to seize these opportunities. This presentation includes examples of how to make simple changes to typical website designs that create successful emotional investments.

Emotional investments, by themselves, are not enough to achieve real conversion success. There are ways to leverage them to encourage specific user behaviors that promote double-digit conversion rates. Oftentimes, its more about when to get the user to do something rather than what to expect them to do. For example, asking for shipping choices before or after presenting the subtotal can dramatically increase or decrease user motivation. This presentation includes good and bad examples and provides suggestions to improve the emotional investment in existing websites.



Larry Marine has contributed his UX and Usability design expertise to more than 250 products in his 25 years as a consultant. His success stories are numerous and recognizable including brands like, Proflowers, FedEx, Novartis, Pyxis, American Airlines, Vanguard Mutual funds, and many more. One of the classicly trained experts in the field, earning his Cognitive Science degree under the tutelage of the famed Dr. Don Norman, Larry continually advances the field’s body of knowledge with experience-based evolutions in the UX practice. He is a highly reviewed speaker and earns high marks for his UX blog posts on