Psychology of websites and social media campaigns


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It's not only your website’s information architecture that you need to worry about. You also need to think about your website’s psychological architecture.

The big secret behind successful websites is rarely a design feature that you can emulate or a marketing campaign that you can copy. Their "secret sauce" is something conceptual that you cannot directly observe. However, if you understand the psychological architectures that lay behind their success, you'll be able to apply their winning principles to your own work, helping you to build better websites, mobile apps, social media campaigns, or other interactive technologies.

In this session, we'll introduce you to the psychology of online design. We will show you a number of simple principles that you can use to understand website psychology. By the end of this session, you'll be better equipped to understand why some online ventures are successful, and others miss the mark. We will give away a number of research tools that you can use to reverse engineer the psychological architectures behind successful websites, whether you just want to understand how they work, or whether you need to learn from their success to strengthen your own projects.
We'll begin this session by discussing the psychology of human-computer interaction and then highlight some of the popular thinking used to describe the psychology of interactive design. Next, we'll present a communication model that explains how people interact with websites and social media, which also offers a comprehensive system that you can use to explain the psychology of interactive design. We will discuss user psychology, user feedback, media channels, social networks, source factors, messaging, and how messages are expressed.

As an introductory session, we'll just focus on a few principles of persuasive online design. Then we'll review how these principles are commonly used in social media profiles, campaign messages, mobile apps, landing pages, and other examples. We will walk you through the first few examples. Then afterwards, we'll invite you to participate in a group discussions where we explore the psychology behind several popular websites.

Your facilitator, Brian Cugelman (@cugelman) has used the Internet for social change campaigns since 1998, working as a campaigner and evaluator for United Nations agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies. Brian completed his doctorate in online social marketing with the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, a world leading team of Internet researchers. Brian's research publications focus on the psychology of online interventions that can influence individual and societal level change. At present, he works in Toronto as a freelance consultant with AlterSpark Consulting (@alterspark), where he provides strategic consulting and research services for online campaigns, projects, and social media engagement.

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Published in: Technology, Business, Design
  • Excellent! As much as you describe these techniques, you use them to make your presentation look amazing, and therefore, possibly worthy of charge! Bravo.
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  • Fantastic presentation - many thanks for sharing!
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  • Just posted a follow-up presentation, focused on social psychology:
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  • Thanks for all the amazing support on SlideShare and other social media. I'm now building a course on the Psychology of Websites and Social Media.

    The first, 'beta workshop' is taking place in Toronto on 2 June 2011 at a heavily reduced fee.

    Learn more or sign-up:
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  • Thank you for answering my question. You did a great job on that research of yours. As I read through the paper I noticed that it was designed primarily in order to provide a framework for online behavioral influence interventions and its use in marketing was somehow an accidental discovery. Your work will indeed be of great help to online marketers.
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  • We can see that people are easily swayed in some areas, while in other areas, it's almost impossible to sway entrenched positions.
  • What if they stopped playing with the change?
  • A persuasive experience is sum effect of all psychological influence componentsInfluence components: the individual psychological components that makeup a persuasive experience
  • Personal story of my journey to find the magic list of behaviour change techniques?None exists. Literature is divided up into different systems
  • Behaviour = Motivation + Ability + Trigger
  • ×