Ahoy! We've built an emotion tracking tool based on the emotion wheel; a tool that helps people articulate how they're feeling by identifying their core emotion and finding the emotions that directly relate to it. Here's a pic of the emotion wheel: enter image description here

The goal of this feature was to

1 - allow users to find words that would help them articulate how they feel and

2 - track the intensity of these different emotions with a short manageable list of core emotions

The first version lets users identify which of the core 6 emotions they're feeling, rate how intently they're feeling and then identify the words on the outside of the wheel that helps them articulate how they're feeling. It looks like this:


enter image description here


It's been pretty effective but we're realizing that users often don't first identify with a core emotion (e.g. sad) but rather with the secondary emotion (e.g. guilty). So we want to give the user the ability to identify the secondary emotions FIRST (e.g. disgusted and startled) and then rate how intently they're feeling that emotion as part of the core emotion (e.g. sad)

UPDATED CONCEPT - Flip the order

enter image description here


The biggest issue with flipping the order of these screens is that users would be presented with a very big list of emotions to choose from up front. It is important that they can find the words that best describe their emotions and I'd like them to be able to do this with as little drilling in/drilling out as possible. Options I've considered to help this out: - breaking the lists into groups (e.g. color) to make them easier to browse - shortening the list initially and using 'more' + 'less' buttons - horizontal scrolling swim lanes of words

I'd love help with other approaches to making this long list of emotions easier to browse and select or other approaches to this problem.

Cheers and thanks for reading my post!


1 Answer 1


I realise that the reason for presenting all the secondary emotions in one list is to show the user what emotions are available in the system. However, presenting this much data at once can feel a bit overwhelming (as you point out).

A less overwhelming solution may present the user with a single autocomplete-like text box that asks "How are you feeling?", that loosely matches1 the list of all your emotions. Now if the term the user puts into the box does not exist, you can do two things:

  • Show a message saying something along the lines of "Sorry, we couldn't find that emotion. Why don't you have a look in the list of all our emotions?" which then shows your master emotion list.

  • If your system will support user customisation, you can allow the user to add a custom emotion that they can relate to existing ones. These custom emotions can be either public, or private (see folksonomy).

The idea here is that the choice to see all emotions is a conscious one, and by the virtue of the message "do you want to see our big list?", the user will probably be more prepared, cognitively, to see this.

Interesting concept. I really like the sliders that allows the user to specify intensity!

1 For instance, if the user types in "stressed", you can show emotions that are usually associated with stress (overwhelmed, sad, tired - I am just guessing here). You can also use other users' inputs to make this lookup smarter.

  • 1
    This is an excellent idea. You can use a thesaurus like structure to enhance it. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 16:51

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