Design & Happiness


Professor Dr. Marc Hassenzahl from the Folkwang University in Essen examines how to make products perfect in order to increase the well-being. The aim is to develop an experience market that effects the designing of new products. The goal of the user function is quite simple: it just has to work. Hassenzahl, however, is interested in the user´s experience. That means it has to be in accordance with the basic human needs like social closeness, competence, autonomy or stimulation. The aim of the organisational task focuses the user´s well-being. The way to well-being, a higher life-satisfaction and happiness does not lie in material goods. It is more important to experience meaningful moments since those make people happier. But how is it possible to experience meaningful moments in everyday activities?

In search of the perfect instant: creating meaningful moments:

Everyday activities represent important resources of our happiness. If people are able to satisfy their psychological needs, it has a positive and very meaningful effect. One example could be the need for autonomy. Imagine a person with a very high need for autonomy. If this person is able to handle things in accordance with this need and also in the way he wants to do it, he will be happy. Alternatively, a person with a high need for competence. If this person in a challenging situation and able to successfully master it, his satisfaction will increase. That means by satisfying our psychological needs, people become happier.
Material goods influence our well-being. This, however, does not mean the possession of those goods but it concerns the way they function and if there is any interaction between the person and the product. Hassenzahl researches to be able to design products that create meaningful moments and to make people happier. To explain this complex approach more understandable, 3 studies from Hassenzahl´s research follow.

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  • Prof. Dr. Andrew Oswald Professor of Economics, University of Warwick
  • Prof. Dr. Ronnie Schöb Professor for International Public Economics, Free University Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Ruut Veenhoven Emeritus Professor Social Conditions of Human Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Carmelo Vazquez President of the International Positive Psychology association
  • Prof. Dr. Marc Hassenzahl Folkwang University Essen
  • Dr. Martijn Burger Academic Director Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation
  • Dr. Adam Okulicz Kozaryn Researcher Rutgers University
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