Use Your Words: Content Strategy to Influence Behavior

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What if we were truly open to the language in our cities, our neighborhoods, our city blocks? What is our environment telling us to do? …

What if we were truly open to the language in our cities, our neighborhoods, our city blocks? What is our environment telling us to do?

In this workshop, we’ll let the language of the city guide us to explore how words, specifically the words of our immediate contexts, shape our behavior. By being open to the possibilities, we’ll explore how language influences both the micro and macro actions we take. We’ll go on expeditions in the morning—studying street signs to doorways to receipts—comparing patterns in the language maps we’ll construct. In the afternoon, we’ll look at what these patterns suggest for the products and services we design.

You’ll walk away having learned how words influence behavior, how products and services have used language for behavior change, and having tools for thinking about language and behavior change in the work you do.

Spend the day letting words use you, so you can go back to work to use them with renewed wisdom.

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  • 1. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Use Your Words Content strategy to influence behavior
  • 2. Welcome! You should walk away having journeyed the language of Wellington with some new insights and influences to take back to your every day —at and away from the desk.
  • 3. What to expect —We’ll be taking all kinds of pictures —You’ll be working in teams —It will be fun, but also action-packed —You’re invited to be observant and to be bold
  • 4. Schedule —09.00am —10.30am —11.00am —12.30pm —01.30pm —03.00pm —03.30pm —05.00pm Part One: Content strategy and behavior design Morning tea Part Two: Expedition Lunch Part Three: Making meaning Afternoon tea Part Four: Presentations and wrap-up End
  • 5. Introductions: Tell us why you’re here today.
  • 6. Let’s get started... This is not your typical content strategy workshop. It’s more about the hidden power of language all around us.
  • 7. Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content —written or in other media. —Wikipedia, Kristina Halvorson, and other smart people
  • 8. Content strategists work to define which content will be published and why it would be published in the first place.
  • 9. Take this photo of a Martian sky taken this month by NASA Curiosity Rover.
  • 10. Content strategists make meaning for a given audience. And when content strategists collaborate with designers ...
  • 11. Audiences begin to see a complete picture.
  • 12. Design without an interface still has user experience considerations.
  • 13. content strategy on the canvas of the invisible Source: 21 Balançoires (21 Swings),” Daily Tous Les Jours As interfaces dissipate into human behavior and items formerly known as buttons and screens dissipate into public spaces, our roles take on different challenges. Design will be more attentive to the canvas of the invisible over the visible.
  • 14. Content strategy has a new stack Material for creation is now embedded and transmitted through a new stack--one that contains concepts like mobile, social, sensors, and context to be successful. This design will succeed if it's responsive, dynamic, and smart in both social environments and private spaces. And that sort of design is not always rewarded for what is seen, but for what is not.
  • 15. We’re talking about words layered on/filtered through/ processed by our environments. Source: Jan Chipchase Today.
  • 16. Explicitly and implicitly Even when it’s the absence of words that influences behavior.
  • 17. Source: Hans Monderman There is no project more spectacularly visible than the late Hans Monderman’s shared space work. Conceived as a way of decreasing accidents by increasing the amount of ownership each person takes on, this first prototypical site saw a dramatic reduction in accidents: down to nearly zero. Today, we’re not going to just talk about the presence of language... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q47umjW7GfE
  • 18. language of behavior change ... but its absence. What does the physical language of interaction design--present or not--encourage one to do?
  • 19. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Part One. Deep dive: how words influence behavior
  • 20. el puente die Brücke Source: Krulwich Wonders Our first story is about a bridge. This is one of the most famous bridges in the world. Shout out some words that come to mind when you see this bridge. http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2009/04/06/102518565/shakespeare-had-roses-all-wrong
  • 21. fragile! elegant! beautiful! peaceful! slender! pretty! Source: Krulwich Wonders Does it look this way to you?
  • 22. strong! dangerous! long! sturdy! big! towering! Source: Krulwich Wonders Or more like this?
  • 23. Source: Krulwich Wonders According to the piece, “The first batch of words — such as beautiful, elegant, slender — were those used most often by a group of German speakers participating in an experiment by Lera Boroditsky, an assistant psychology professor at Stanford University. She told the group to describe the image that came to mind when they were shown the word, ‘bridge.’ The second batch of words — such as strong, sturdy, towering — were most often chosen by people whose first language is Spanish. What explains the difference? Boroditsky proposes that because the word for ‘bridge’ in German — die brucke — is a feminine noun, and the word for ‘bridge’ in Spanish — el puente — is a masculine noun, native speakers unconsciously give nouns the characteristics of their grammatical gender.”
  • 24. grammar affects our experience and perception of the world ... “Boroditsky created a pretend language based on her research — called ‘Gumbuzi’ — replete with its own list of male and female nouns. Students drilled in the language were then shown bridges and tables and chairs to see if they began to characterize these things with their newly minted genders. .... They did. Boroditsky suggests that the grammar we learn from our parents, whether we realize it or not, affects our sensual experience of the world. Spaniards and Germans can see the same things, wear the same cloths, eat the same foods and use the same machines. But deep down, they are having very different feelings about the world about them.” —Krulwich Wonders
  • 25. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Exercise: Observation Wow. Well what if we, smart people, were conscious of this fact? Could we control it? Let’s find out.
  • 26. Watch this video clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57kolSnpjQQ
  • 27. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Exercise One —Estimate and write down your best response.
  • 28. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Exercise One —Estimate and write down your best response. —How did you fare?
  • 29. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Discuss What is the effect of “sensationalizing”?
  • 30. 40 Average estimated speed (mph) 40.5 39.3 35 38.1 34.0 31.8 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Smashed Collided Bumped Hit Contacted Source: Drunk Tank Pink Our association with words can even make us believe that things aren’t there. Drunk Tank Pink: “In the 1970s, Elizabeth Loftus studied how labels distorted memories. For example, whether people who witnessed a car accident recorded and recalled their memories faithfully, or whether their recollections changed based on the words used. In one experiment, people watched car accidents from a Seattle Police Department driving safety video. After each video, drivers estimated how fast the car were traveling before the accident. Everyone saw the same videos, but the questionnaires used used one of five different terms to describe how cars interacted. Some were asked how fast they were going when cars ‘hit’ one another, others were asked when they ‘smashed, collided’ into one another. And although they saw the same video, the estimates differed. Sensationalized accidents made cars travel faster.”
  • 31. Dennises + Dentists Stephens + Stephanies It’s not just our grammar and cultural upbringing, but our very names themselves. Our very names can affect who we become. http://www.radiolab.org/story/91539-placebo/
  • 32. X What we don’t think about as much in naming is how it can translate into hard numbers. This is the stock ticker symbol for United States Steel.
  • 33. X RSH And Radio Shack’s ticker (“RISH?”)
  • 34. X RSH GOOG And Google. Compare the pronounceable (fluent) tickers with unpronounceable (disfluent) tickers, just after one day of trading, stocks yield a 15% gain across NYSE and ASE, but those with disfluent tickers yielded only 7% gain.
  • 35. Proportion of lawyers who are partners 100% Fluent names 90% Disfluent names 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0 0-3 years 4-8 years 9-15 years 16+ years Years since graduating from law school Source: Drunk Tank Pink Drunk Tank Pink: “Fluency can also affects whether or not we want to purchase stocks or products, but also life outcomes. This graph shows the mid-career advantage of having a fluent name. Compared with lawyers with disfluent names, lawyers with fluent names are 8% more likely to be partners 4-8 years ager graduating and 7% more likely to be partners 9-15 years after graduating.”
  • 36. % increase in name-letter donations 300 260% 250 200 150% 150 100% 100 50% 33% 50 0 Rita 2005 Katrina 2005 Ivan 2005 Francis 2005 Charley 2005 30% Mitch 1998 28% Wilma 2005 Hurricane name and year Source: Drunk Tank Pink ...”In fact, language can affect not only what is there, but what isn’t there. We have a magnetic attraction toward our name letters. (p 15) For each of the seven hurricanes examined, the proportion of Red Cross donations from people whose names shared the hurricane’s initial increased, immediately after the hurricane.”
  • 37. “How am I doing?” —FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR, ED KOCH The Media Equation: “Last year Ed Koch passed away. Three-term mayor, he was famous for this line, how am I doing? His question closed speeches, opened events, and generally made a great soundbite. Imagine the mayor turning to you smiling, asking this same question. Your response to him will likely be ‘you’re doing great!’ But if a New York Times reporter calls you later that day and asks you that same question, ‘how is the mayor doing,’ you’re likely to give a more truthful response, ‘not so well.’ What explains the two different responses?”
  • 38. the media equation ... “When the mayor asks the question, he’s implicitly communicating what would make him happy and what he’d like to hear. When someone else asks the question, the mayor’s feelings are not at stake, and honestly prevails. This phenomenon is called the ‘media equation.’”
  • 39. the media equation A general communication theory that claims that people tend to treat computers and other media as if they were either real people or real places. The effects of this phenomenon on people experiencing these media are often profound, leading them to behave and to respond to these experiences in unexpected ways, most of which they are completely unaware. People are polite most of the time. And though violations exist, people, whether they’re talking to computers, televisions, or physical objects -or people -- will generally try to make them happy.
  • 40. the media equation A general communication theory that claims that people tend to treat computers and other media as if they were either real people or real places. The effects of this phenomenon on people experiencing these media are often profound, leading them to behave and to respond to these experiences in unexpected ways, most of which they are completely unaware.
  • 41. Individuals’ interactions with computers, television, and new media are fundamentally social and natural, just like interactions in real life.” —REEVES, NASS, 1996 When people ask about themselves, they will usually get a much more positive response than if a third party asked the same question. The interesting part is that this isn’t just true for people, but of things as well.
  • 42. polite + polite aggressive + aggressive passive + aggressive outgoing + shy The theory explains that people tend to respond to media as they would either to another person (by being polite, cooperative, attributing personality characteristics such as aggressiveness, humor, expertise, and even gender) – or to places and phenomena in the physical world – depending on the cues they receive from the media. Numerous studies indicate that this type of reaction is automatic, unavoidable, and happens more often than people realize.
  • 43. NPR prototype Take these examples.
  • 44. Zappos
  • 45. Level
  • 46. Exercise Two Feedback
  • 47. Exercise Two —Choose a partner. —One person plays a “user”, the other plays the “computer.” —Role play situations where the user forgot his or her password. —In different turns, the computer responds with the following attributes: polite, cooperative, humorous, expert, aggressive, mean
  • 48. Discuss What were the effects of different responses on how you felt? How willing you were to continue?
  • 49. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Part Two. Expeditionary listening: patterns and behaviors revealed in the city Go into the city for an hour and be guided by the language you encounter "where is the city telling you to go". Every time you "hear" a message from the city, check-in and photograph the sign that made you react. - A store sign that made them go in... - graffiti that made them turn left... - A street sign that made them go right... Then use your check ins/and language photos to tell a story about what the city was telling you to do... instead of "what your city thinks you are" ... "what your city is telling you to do"....
  • 50. What if we were truly open to the language in our cities, our neighborhoods, our building? What is our environment telling us to do? Let the language of the Wellington guide you in exploring how words shape our behavior. Is Wellington a great place?
  • 51. What if we were truly open to the language in our cities, our neighborhoods, our building? What is our environment telling us to do? Let the language of the Wellington guide you in exploring how words shape our behavior. Where will it take you?
  • 52. Webstock 2014 Language of a city —Implicit —Explicit Content Strategy Workshop
  • 53. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Language to guide behavior —Sidewalks —Streets —Retail —Transit —Entertainment —Policy & Regulations
  • 54. What does the city tell you to do? Be mindful of traffic!
  • 55. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Expeditionary protocol —Surrender to the language of the city —Do as the city tells you to —Photograph each change (if the city tells you to stop, stop) —Do so for 60 minutes; Return at 12.00 By being open to the possibilities, we'll explore how language influences both the micro and macro actions we take. We’ll go on expeditions in the morning—studying street signs to doorways to receipts—comparing patterns in the language maps we’ll construct. In the afternoon, we’ll look at what these patterns suggest for the products and services we design. You’ll walk away having learned how words influence behavior, how products and services have used language for behavior change, and having tools for thinking about language and behavior change in the work you do. Spend the day letting words use you, so you can go back to work to use them with renewed wisdom.
  • 56. What to look for...
  • 57. Fair game street signs, store signs, road markers, receipts, lucky numbers, superstitions, billboards, skywriting, bumper stickers Keep in mind sensational language, positive/negative language
  • 58. Off limits symbol signs, audio cues, non-directives
  • 59. “when you experience serendipity in cities it’s a clear indicator of a healthily functioning urban ecosystem.” —ADAM GREENFIELD
  • 60. Go.
  • 61. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Part Three. Making meaning
  • 62. Discuss —What did you see and hear? —Did sensational language influence you? —What disposition does the city have— positive, negative, aggressive, expert? —Did the city present its directions implicitly or explicitly?
  • 63. What is the city’s Power of 10? places to sit, playgrounds to enjoy, art to touch, music to hear, food to eat, history to experience, people to meet. At the core of the Power of 10 is the idea that any great place itself needs to offer at least 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there. These could include a place to sit, playgrounds to enjoy, art to touch, music to hear, food to eat, history to experience, and people to meet. Ideally, some of these activities are unique to that particular spot and are interesting enough to keep people coming back.  The local folks who use the space most regularly are the best source of ideas for what uses will work best. https://www.pps.org/reference/the-power-of-10/
  • 64. Discuss —What are your top 3?
  • 65. Source: Craig Mod Digital products can be difficult to consider because their boundaries are invisible. There’s no way to understand the digital product. How to do so—like Craig Mod did when he worked at Flipboard, print out a book of the experience of making the product to get your head around it?
  • 66. Source: James Bridle Or like James Bridle did with the Iraq War.
  • 67. Webstock 2014 Content Strategy Workshop Exercise: product map Language has such an influence on how we make decisions.
  • 68. Challenge —Create a map for the city of Wellington. —Prioritize lists of nouns and verbs. —Tell its story through a product map. —Print or sketch 10 photos.
  • 69. Suggested Anatomy —Team name —Your method —Power of 10 —Nouns/Verbs —Sentence —Concept map
  • 70. Discuss What story is the city telling? Why?
  • 71. Recap —Sensationalizing language —Feedback, the media equation —Gestural language of a city —Power of 10 method —What makes a great place/product method —Concept product maps
  • 72. 1996 The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media like Real People and Places. Byron Reeves, Clifford Nass 2013 Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape how we Think, Feel, and Behave. Adam Alter 2013 Ongoing Designing for Behavior Change. Stephen Wendel Works that Work: Magazine of Unexpected Creativity. Typotheque
  • 73. Thanks. liz@bobulate.com @bobulate