Delight Users with Kano Model


It is always significant to make users delightful when engaging with the products, however, it can be extremely challengable either to measure their emotional reactions towards products or to prioritize them. This is where Kano Model comes into play, which is used for measuring desirability of different product features. This post will breifly introduce this method and discuss its advantages/disadvantages.



Kano Model was developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 1980s while studying the factors contribute to customer satisfaction and loyalty. It suggests 5 different emotional response types to conclude users’ attitude towards product features, and can be very insightful for companies to understand users’ emotion toward different product features and prioritize their effort while developing their products.

A Kano Model Analysis follows 4 step:

  • Step 1. Identify Features for Evaluation
  • Step 2. Construct the Questionnaire
  • Step 3. Interview / Survey
  • Step 4. Evaluate & Interprete



A typical questionnaire for Kano Model Analysis consists of two questions for each feature:

  • Positive Question: “how would you feel if this feature were present?”
  • Negative Question: “how would you feel if this feature were absent?”

With 5 choices of response for respondents:

  • I like it
  • I expect it
  • I’m neutral
  • I can tolerate it
  • I dislike it

The presentation of the question is suggested to be facilitated with prototypes, so users could better get the idea of the feature while evaluating.


Evaluation Table

Kano Evaluation Table by Jan Moorman

Based on users’ responses to the negative and positive question for a certain feature, their attitudes on the feature can be interpreted to a specific reaction category as shown in the table. There are totally 5 categories concluded by Professor Kano, which will be discussed further in the next section.


Kano’s 5 Emotional Response Types

Kano’s model of customer satisfaction (Berger et al., 1993)

5 Types

Must-Have Features

Must-Have features caused disappointment if has not been presented, but users remain neutral if they have been implemented. These features are considered to be basic product criteria. An example is the sending message feature in IM app.

One-dimensional Features

This type has a linear relationship between the fulfillment of the feature and the satisfaction of it, that users are not satisfied if the feature has been missed, but like it if it exists. They are customers’ explicit demands, like the security of users’ bank accounts.

Attractive Features

Attractive features stimulate users’ delight while present, but they are not dissatisfied if these features are absent. These features will generate more than propositional satisfaction if being implemented.

Unimportant Features

Unimportant Features refer to those that users do not care if they are included or not.

Undesired Features

Users are even getting dissatisfied if Undesired Features are implemented.


Change of Types

The types of users’ emotional response changes over time that Attractive Features may become Must-Have Feature. For an example, in the era of SMS, “sending photos” can be an attractive features to delight users, but right now, it is must-have for any messaging app.

Description of how attributes values change over time in the Kano model (Craigwbrown, 2012)



Pros & Cons

  • Provides accurate and valuable insight into if the company should invest in a certain feature
  • A worthy way to improve customer satisfaction with your products
  • Is tedious for the interview process, can be long and take up a lot of time
  • Analyzing this type of data is certainly not easy. There is a considerable amount (at least 20) you need to do to get an accurate analysis.



Berger, C., Blauth, R., Boger, D., Bolster, C., Burchill, G., DuMouchel, W., Pouliot, F., Richter, R., Rubinoff, A., Shen, D., Timko, M. and Walden, D. (1993). Kano’s Methods for Understanding Customer-defined Quality. Center for Quality Management Journal, 4 (Fall 1993).

Kano, N., Seraku, N., Takahashi, F. and Tsuji, S. (1984). Attractive Quality and Must-be Quality. The Journal of the Japanese Society for Quality Control,, April 1984.

Matzler, K., Hinterhuber, H., Bailom, F. and Sauerwein, E. (1996). How to delight your customers. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 5(2), pp.6-18.

Moorman, J. (2018). Leveraging the Kano Model for Optimal Results | UX Magazine. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

Olsen-landis, C. (2018). Kano Model — Ways to use it and NOT use it – Design at IBM – Medium. [online] Medium. Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018]. (2018). Benefits and Weakness of the Kano Survey. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

Design Critique: WhatsApp (iPhone app)

Conversation Page of WhatsApp


The conversation page of WhatsApp is what shown after user clicks any individual/group chat in chat list of the app’s 4th main tab, where they can communicate with other users through rich text, voice messages voice calls or video calls. In addition, it also supports document, location and contact sharing to enable a rich communication platform.



✔ Clear Visibility of General Message Features
Clear Visibility of Message States

By using the principle of feedback, WhatsApp make the states of a message visible after user click the send icon. There are totally four states: wait to be sent, successfully sent, successfully delivered, read. Through this way, the app eliminate the gulf of evaluation for users.

Separation of my messages and others’ messages
It also improves the visibility of message sender by taking advantage of the mapping principle. The conversation bubbles on the left represents the messages from others, while the bubbles on the right are from users themselves, which maps the two people’s face to face conversation. It also using white and green colors to distinct the messages. In the group chat, all the messages from other users also list on the left with their name, which make it clear to check the message and its sender.


✔ Good Conceptual Model of Sending Text Messages

The conceptual model of sending text messages meets users’ expectations. As instant messages app rose up after the internet, they mirror the conceptual model which is similar with writing letters, that from drafting a letter, then wrap and send it. So user could easily predict the effects of their actions, e.g. know the “send icon” will deliver the message.


✗ Poor Visibility of Rich Text Feature

The rich text function is hidden, except when user has selected the draft text, which is a rare action from users unless they want to copy text. This leads to the poor discoverability of this feature and can cause the gulf of execution in some cases.


● [Controversial] Poor Conceptual Model for Sending Voice Messages, But Clear Instructions And Good Consideration for Efficiency

Compared with the conceptual model of sending text, the one for sending voice messages fail to consist with user’s conceptual model. User needs to hold the recording icon for recording, slide left to cancel and release to send the voice message or swipe up to lock the recording mode. This interaction is totally new and require users to learn and practice, which can be risky for learned helpless that users might blame themselves for unable to perform the action. From a user perspective, they are expecting to click to record first, and then click to send the voice message.

However, this new action actually helps improve the efficiency of sending voice message, which is also the goal of using it. And WhatsApp provide a very clear instruction for users when they trigger the function.



Make “Rich Text” Feature More Visible

The mockup list the rich content feature at the top of edit box, so users are able to notice the function upon they click the edit box to text something.