Tag Archives: persuasive design

Lady with megaphone

Designing Call to Action Buttons

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The Content Marketing Institute is one of my go-to sources for practical tips on content strategy and content marketing. One of their core messages is that the long term objective of marketing should be to build an opt-in audience that values your communication. They therefore give you permission, often explicitly, to send them information and offers. This has become increasingly necessary because interruption marketing, such as pop-up ads and 30-second TV spots, are too easy for consumers to skip, block, or ignore by watching a different screen. Just look at what Apple is doing in iOS 9.

Email is a whopping 40 times more powerful at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. On top of that, the average email-based order’s dollar value is 17% higher than social media channels.

fruit bar and lunch tray

Smarter Lunchrooms

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I am a member of the Smarter Lunchroom Movement. The organization does research and promotes best practices in the design of K-12 school lunchrooms using behavioral science, persuasive design techniques, ergonomics, social psychology, and other sciences and design methods. Simple things like putting healthier foods within easier reach and at the front of the line (when students’ trays are empty and their budgets are full) and the reverse for the junk food.

man with hat

Persuasive Design

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We are getting better and better at persuasive design. For the uninitiated, persuasive design is the practice of specifically crafting designs calculated to induce the user to engage in a specific behavior. On the surface, that seems pretty harmless. It may even sound like what all user interface design is intended to accomplish. But there is a difference that makes all the difference.

The idea that computers, mobile phones, websites, and other technologies could be designed to influence people’s behavior and even attitudes dates back to the early 1990s, when Stanford researcher B. J. Fogg coined the term “persuasive computing” (later broadened to “persuasive technology”). But today many companies have taken that one step further: using technologies that measure customer behavior to design products that are not just persuasive but specifically aimed at forging new habits.

a man standing in front of a large vending machine

Commitment Device: Constraining Users for their Own Good

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Springwise has been reporting on a variety of vending machines that constrain user behavior for their own good.

Businesses often stand by the motto ‘the customer is always right’ — but are they? We’ve already seen a few services that deny consumers what they want based on their personal info…

a keyboard with social media icons on the buttons

Social Media Research

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Social Media has become a favorite source of data for all kinds of research. User Experience designers involved with social media use their access to vast data sources to make all kinds of conclusions.

To anyone studying humanity, the big data generated by social media can be hard to resist. But that kind of data is often tainted by bias, argues a new paper published in Science, and data scientists and the public should be on alert.

riot police

Do Police Need Lapel Cameras?

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This article in the New York Times highlights many of the issues regarding lapel-mounted video cameras on law enforcement officers.

No consensus has emerged about when officers should turn on their cameras, which could leave departments open to accusations of selective recording. And tapes do not always lead to universally shared conclusions…

Black Hat Design

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I ranted a while ago about the design approach of the viral “oops” in which the design misleads the user into doing something (like clicking or ) that gets the content shared throughout his or her network. For example, have you ever saw an article on your newsfeed in Facebook that had an interesting sounding title, clicked on it, and then discovered it was cheap marketing? You immediately click and go on about your business. But in the meanwhile, the Facebook algorithm assumes you liked…

a bunch of strawberries

Instant Gratification

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This article from Jason Hreha at Big Think got me doing some big thinking (sorry, but I had to go there). The basic message of his article is that we have a strong movement in business innovation towards instant gratification. And there are many kinds.

New kinds of products, in which a user can press a button and instantly herald something into the world, are what I call “Instant Gratification Technologies.” They let us get what we want right away.

two man standing at the end of a hall in a pink room

Priming with Pink

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I think a lot about priming (for example, see the EID articles here and here). We need to wield this power carefully and only for the forces of good. A recent You Are Not So Smart podcast is a good example. David McRaney (one of my favorite thought leaders in this domain) interviews Adam Alter, who is a leading expert on priming. They cover a wide variety of his research in a very engaging interview. David also throws in a few great examples from other researchers both before and after his interview.

a man hitting his face with his palm

Viral Marketing – Is it Ok if the User Blames Himself?

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I was a little upset when I read this article, which is from someone whose ideas I usually have a high regard for. The article is about what he calls the viral “oops.”

Unlike viral loops, which are actions users take in the normal course of using a product to invite new members, viral oops rely on the user ‘effing-up.

In essence, this is when a user shares your content by accident, blames himself for the mistake, and you get the benefits without the costs of the error.