Can do. Will do. Still do.


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This article, written by Saurabh Gupta, Managing Director, Human Factors International, was published in issue 08 of the Social Technology Quarterly.
Summary: Persuasion, Emotion and Trust take designing
beyond usability to building deeper relationships with customers. They enable brands to understand what triggers customers to respond and make purchase decisions.

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Can do. Will do. Still do.

  1. 1. 32 Can do. Will do. Still do.Persuasion, Emotion and Trust take designing beyond usability to building deeper relationships with customers.They enable brands to understand what triggers customers to respond and make purchase decisions. by Saurabh Gupta Photo Credit: Apdk Commerce
  2. 2. Kuliza Social Technology Quarterly Issue 08 33 India is witnessing an e-commerce boom. Undoubtedly, adapting to several platforms, whether it is the web, Android, iOS or other mobile platforms, has resulted in increased sales. But the question remains whether the usability of web and mobile channels are going to be enough to win the battle for elevated customer attention, acquisition, interaction, and loyalty? The answer is definitely in the negative unless it is realized that design in the information and digital age is all about designing for Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust (PET design™). E-commerce stores used to be clones of brick and mortar stores. However, issues of usability and navigation have been tackled by the most primitive of e-commerce platforms. But beyond usability, the need of the hour is to spruce up the overall user experience. The online experience must be enticing, besides being easy and satisfying. It has to be the kind that makes consumers feel engaged and ultimately committed.
  3. 3. Rule of Reciprocity In the 1970s, the Disabled American Veterans, while soliciting donations, decided to send potential donors personalized labels in a mail. They told people to keep the labels even if they did not make a donation. The result of this strategy indicated an increase in the number of people who made contributions, which nearly doubled—jumping from 18 percent to 35 percent. Made popular by Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” the rule of reciprocity is about the deeply ingrained human instinct to repay a debt. If someone gives something to us, we feel obliged to repay that debt. This rule operates not only with familiar people, but also with strangers. Be it refreshments served in a store while shopping or an offer, the underlying assumption with this rule is that it nudges people to purchase. Once it has been made usable, a web or mobile channel needs to persuade clients to transact or convert. It is this step of persuasion that PET design is primarily concerned with. A usability engineer can make it easy for a person to purchase insurance online. But the need for insurance is not the lone reason for a person to buy the policy; a dominating factor is the persuasive nature of the site. Several methods and tools for persuasion are implemented ranging from selling a value, making an emotional statement to the extent of making one feel frightened and insecure about what could happen to their family if they did not buy insurance. There is an exhaustive list of persuasive techniques to choose from when designing for PET, but here are seven principles that can make web and mobile channels more engaging and influential. These principles can not only answer what solutions can be implemented immediately, but also lay foundation for future strategies that will work in the long run. Also, significance has to be given to the context of the products and services, the objective and the emotional drives and blocks of your target audience. There are key questions every e-commerce platform should answer to understand the contexts before any of these principles are implemented: 1. Can do • Can users find the information they’re looking for? • Can they find the button they need to press? 2. Will do • They can find the button, but will they press it? • They can find the information, but will they act on it? 3. Still do • Will they come back? • Will they be loyal? These principles work on the assumption that high level of engagement is necessary for people to associate with a brand. It must be taken into consideration that although people can do something does not mean they are bound to do those actions. The future of design is about creating engagement and commitment to meet measurable business goals. It is therefore a necessity to understand in depth the subtle and emotional triggers through different sets of practices. References Schaffer,Eric.Dr,perf.“Beyond Usability: Usability is No Longer Enough.” Human Factors International,Inc.2008. Weinschenk,Susan.Dr,perf.“7 principles that make your website more engaging.” Human Factors International,Inc.,2011. Amabile,Teresa M,and Steven J Kramer.The Progress Principle: Using SmallWins to Ignite Joy,Engagement and Creativity atWork.USA: Harvard Business Review Press,2011.
  4. 4. We Love to get More of Anything In a coffee shop there were two deals for a cup of coffee. The first deal offered thirty-three percent extra in the regular cup of coffee. The second took thirty-three percent off the regular price. If we were to analyze which deal was better, both would seemingly be equal. However, it is not so. People would tend to go for the first deal because we do not use math to arrive at the decision, but use emotional math. In this case getting something extra “for free” feels better than getting the same for less. Scarcity As a corollary to the previous principle of wanting more, if something is unavailable or is scarce, it is perceived as more valuable. Therefore, on a website when notifications are provided such as “only four more days to order your plane tickets,” or “only three items left,” these notification act as triggers and signals to the brain to fasten the process of buying and induces a fear of losing out on something. The human brain is sensitive to messages that have to do with losing. Fear of loss is a trigger that causes people to take action. It is not Always Best to be First Research shows that people are less likely to choose the highest rated option in a quality ranking when it appears first on the list. People tend to gravitate toward choices in the middle. When given an array of five options, they tend to choose the fourth one, especially when the choices are presented side by side. The middle position has something inherently attractive to the human mind. As social creatures, the middle seems a good and safe place to be in comparison to being at the edge, towards the end or at the very beginning.
  5. 5. 36 Conscious Minds areVery Sensitive to Food,Sex,Danger and Protection of Offspring To get and hold the attention of humans and get them to act, you need to engage with their old brains. A major job of the brain is to keep us from harm. A threatening situation, even if unreal or happening to someone else, can cause the brain to set off an alarm, putting our information and emotional processing systems on high alert. This implies that anything that happens while we are on high alert will be processed through emotions and thereby will be deeply ingrained in memory. Marketers thus use images, references and related content of food, sex or danger in order to stimulate actions. This helps a viewer connect deeply and therefore one is bound to remember the product because of strong emotions attached to it. Use the Power of Small Wins According to Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer in the book The Progress Principle, of all things that can boost emotions, motivations, and perceptions, the single most important thing is the perception of making progress. The more frequently people experience a sense of progress, the more likely they are to be motivated in the long run. Whether it is an attempt to solve a major scientific mystery or simply fill out a form, even a small win can make a difference to how people feel and their next set of actions. Designers can use this to principle to leverage progress and motivate people to perform more actions. Popular networking site, LinkedIn efficiently uses the concept of progress to motivate people towards profile completeness. The design consists of a graph that indicates completeness of one’s profile, which would result in better opportunities. This ensures that every piece of information that is added to the profile is perceived as a small win. Social Validation When people are uncertain of what to buy or whether an offer is good enough, they look to others to decide what to do. This is why ratings, reviews and testimonials are powerful. The more information available through ratings and reviews, the more powerful and the more influential that rating and review is. Research even shows that reviews from other people, especially ones from peers are the most influential. Peer reviews are more influential than reviews or testimonials from experts or recommendations from the website itself. According to a survey of US internet users by online video review site EXPO, consumer reviews are significantly more trusted - nearly twelve times more than descriptions that come from manufacturers.
  6. 6. Kuliza Social Technology Quarterly Issue 08 37 It is necessary to understand in depth the subtle and emotional triggers that motivate customers to buy. Photo Credit: Kuba Bozanowski