Emoware: What does “emotional software” feel like?

Originally titled What does “emotional software” look like?
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28 percentThose of you who know me as a software engineer have no doubt heard me talk repeatedly about if you look at computer science as a social science it’s clear that there are a lot of consequences to the lack of diversity in the discipline.  One of them is a lot of the design space just isn’t getting explored.

Most software today is designed and developed by teams and companies (or open-source projects) where the power is with white guys whose cognitive style is analytical and reductionist.  A lot of developers would agree with the Microsoft Technical Fellow my former Ad Astra colleagues once worked with trying to design an asset-based thinking workshop: “I’d much rather not talk about emotion”.   Functional, sparse, flat designs with limited configurability in the style of 37 Signals are great for people who like that kind of interaction.  A lot of us don’t, and our needs are badly underserved.

So when Cindy Gallop left a comment in my thread Guys talking to guys who talk about guys

My startup http://www.ifwerantheworld.com – a simple web-meets-world platform designed to turn good intentions into action, one microaction at a time – is what I describe as ‘emotional software’: the synthesis of technology and psychology.

My startup team is 4 women, 3 men. My head of user experience, my designer and my programmer are all female.

Emotions?  Psychology?  Moving people to action?  Sounds like social sciences to me.  I was intrigued.

So I checked it out, and talked with Cindy and superhero Giovanna Mingarelli, then had a total mind meld with design goddess Oonie Chase via Skype, talking about Seductive interfaces, agile software terminology and so much more.  Now I’m even more intrigued — and very impressed.   If She Ran The World … on Tales from The Net has more.

So what does “emotional software” feel like?

What other software (apps or web sites) do you think of as “emotional software” and why?

jon

PS: thanks to Kyra Gaunt (aka @kyraocity, author of The Audacity of Humanity) for the term “Emo-ware”, and to oonie for burgling it and dropping the hyphen. fistbump. Read on for more …