Delightful UX Design: A Semiotic-Rhetorical Perspective


Designers recognize delight as a crucial element of the user experience (UX) of interactive products and services. Research has demonstrated that when a product or service elicits delight, its user is prone to develop affection and loyalty for it and its brand. Moreover, this kind of delight encourages the user to recommend the product or service to other people. The behavioral, attitudinal, and affective effects of the delight inherent in a UX suggest a connection between this emotion with the persuasive dimension of a designed object. This study focuses on this connection and discusses a semiotic-rhetorical framework of delightful UX design. This framework draws on the idea that a designed object works as a reified argument by which designers attempt to prescribe people’s lives. It also considers that designers carefully craft the signifiers that constitute the (interface) design of a (digital) product to fulfill this persuasive attempt. This approach regards delight as a function of the surprise, captivation, and fulfillment experienced by the user due to the appearance and behavior of one or a group of functionally related interface signifiers. This approach relates these antecedents of delight with the design’s capability to appear the user—in the Aristotelean sense: appealing to logos, ethos, and pathos—and promote sense-making and reassurance—connected by this framework with the notion of rhetorical argument, the enthymeme. This framework seeks to aid designers to explore the connection between delight, design, sense-making, and multimodal argumentation, providing a set of concepts that could work as a critical lens.


Omar Sosa Tzec
Assistant Professor, School of Design, San Francisco State University, California, United States


Presentation Type

Focused Discussion


Visual Design


Delight, User Experience, Design Theory, Rhetoric, Semiotics, Analytical Framework