Persuasion Architectures:
Nudging People to do the Right Thing
Rob van Tol
Senior User Experience Consultant
November 2010
What is Persuasion
Persuasion is an attempt to change attitudes or behaviours or both (without
using coercion or deception...
Changing attitudes is really really hard:
 Clunk Click Every Trip 
 Don’t Drink and Drive 
 Green Cross Code ≈
 Keep...
By the 70s we knew that
men in white coats weren’t
persuading people: so why
not try an odd pop DJ?
Cialdini [Chal-dini]: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Reciprocity - People tend to return a favour. So success of ...
Cialdini: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Cialdini suggest that persuasion works the same basically
everywhere, bu...
Persuasion in Action
Commitment and ConsistencyCommitment and Consistency Social ProofSocial Proof ScarcityScarcityLikingL...
Persuasion not in Action
No
Commitment and Consistency
No
Commitment and Consistency
No
Social Proof
No
Social Proof
No
Sc...
HFI PET (Persuasion Emotion Trust)
70 Techniques, such as these 11…
 Optimal Level of Dissonance – “Draw my attention or ...
0
HFI PET (Persuasion Emotion Trust)
 Visceral Processing – “The way our brains automatically respond to
stimuli, like br...
1
HFI PET (Persuasion Emotion Trust)
Optimal Level of Dissonance
Feel Good Principle
Reason for Request
Contrast Principle...
2
B J Fogg: Persuasion as Simplicity
 The minimally satisfying solution at the lowest cost
(not the most elegant or the u...
3
B J Fogg: Persuasion as Simplicity
So phone apps have become so simple to
buy, many of us have hundreds of
fascinating a...
4
MINDSPACE: Public Sector Persuasion
Paul Dolan et.al. synthesised a public sector methodology:
 Messenger: One of us / ...
5
MINDSPACE
I don’t have
the space
here to
unpack the
whole
model!
6
Thaler & Sunstein: Choice Architecture (Nudge)
Or time to unpack Richard Thaler & Cass Sunsten’s ...
 iNcentives
 Unde...
7
Why Persuasion Doesn’t Always Work
Incongruence: We don’t have to make sense (in the moment)
Example of someone holding ...
8
Why Persuasion Doesn’t Always Work
Hierarchy of Goals: We don’t have to make sense (over time)
Example of divergent goal...
9
Why Persuasion Doesn’t Always Work
Low Trust
Poor Usability & Trust damage Persuasion: The engaged user may become
ambiv...
0
Criticisms of Persuasiveness
 None of the agree
 Too controlling
 Paternalist: Big Brother has your best interests at...
1
Criticisms of Persuasiveness
If these 6 (or 70 or 9 or 6) factors are so crucial to persuasion,
how come these have been...
2
Elaboration Likelihood Model
Petty and Cacioppo [Ca-cho-po]
suggest there are two
ways we make decisions /
get persuaded...
3
Elaboration Likelihood Model
 In other cases, we take
the peripheral route.
Here we do not pay
attention to persuasive
...
4
Elaboration Likelihood Model
So it depends how involved your user is. The right word at the right moment
can be just as ...
5
Persuasion: How to test it?
For increased engagement and conversion rates:
 Usability Tests focusing on persuasion rath...
6
Persuasion: Any defence against it?
No
Not really
Unless it goes too far
Even when we know
its going on, it is hard
to r...
7
Persuasion: What Supermarkets Do
 Entrance hall and wide aisles at start of shop that funnel down into narrower aisles
...
8
Thank you
For further information, please contact:
Rob van Tol
User Vision
55 North Castle Street
Edinburgh
EH2 3QA
Tel:...
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Persuasion architectures: Nudging People to do the Right Thing

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Review of some of the most popular commercial and public sector persuasion methodologies. Plus some reasons why they may not work and some criticisms, and a comparison of how supermarkets persuade us, offline.

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Persuasion architectures: Nudging People to do the Right Thing

  1. 1. Persuasion Architectures: Nudging People to do the Right Thing Rob van Tol Senior User Experience Consultant November 2010
  2. 2. What is Persuasion Persuasion is an attempt to change attitudes or behaviours or both (without using coercion or deception). B.J. Fogg, Stanford University www.bjfogg.com Persuasion … is the process of moving others by argument to a position or course of action either temporarily or permanently. Robert Cialdini, Arizona State University Persuasion Architecture creates an experience that leads your visitors to find what they want by acknowledging that these two processes – buying and selling – occur in tandem and take place on every page of a Web site. Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg, & Lisa T. Davis, Future Now Inc
  3. 3. Changing attitudes is really really hard:  Clunk Click Every Trip   Don’t Drink and Drive   Green Cross Code ≈  Keep Britain Tidy   Don’t Die of Ignorance   Eat Five a Day ≈  Smoking Kills ≈ Even when these are backed up by:  Compulsion: Laws, Taxes, Police & the Criminal Justice System  Support: GPs, Free Condoms, Home Visits  Social Pressure making behaviours taboo Don’t Change Minds
  4. 4. By the 70s we knew that men in white coats weren’t persuading people: so why not try an odd pop DJ?
  5. 5. Cialdini [Chal-dini]: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Reciprocity - People tend to return a favour. So success of free samples. Also good cop / bad cop Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honour that commitment. It helps to resolve cognitive dissonance (should I / shouldn’t I) Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing, eg the Asch conformity experiments Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts, eg the Milgram experiments Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like, eg the power of viral marketing and celebrity endorsements Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales
  6. 6. Cialdini: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Cialdini suggest that persuasion works the same basically everywhere, but what works best is weighted differently among cultures:  United States, people are best persuaded with RECIPROCATION. Has this person done me a favour lately?  Asian countries, people are best persuaded if the requestor has AUTHORITY and is connected to senior members of their small group?  Spain/Latin countries, people are best persuaded because of LIKING. Is this connected to my friends?  Germany, people are best persuaded if the request is CONSISTENT with the rules and regulations of the organization.
  7. 7. Persuasion in Action Commitment and ConsistencyCommitment and Consistency Social ProofSocial Proof ScarcityScarcityLikingLikingAuthorityAuthorityReciprocityReciprocity
  8. 8. Persuasion not in Action No Commitment and Consistency No Commitment and Consistency No Social Proof No Social Proof No Scarcity No Scarcity No Reciprocity No Reciprocity Wrong Liking Wrong Liking Wrong Authority Wrong Authority Wrong Jumper Wrong Jumper If you failing to persuade someone, badgering is not a persuasive technique So please stop it…
  9. 9. HFI PET (Persuasion Emotion Trust) 70 Techniques, such as these 11…  Optimal Level of Dissonance – “Draw my attention or make me read more if I present something that seems a bit unusual, but not so unusual that it looses credibility or turns the consumer off.”  Feel Good Principle – “If you give me a reason to feel good about a decision, then I’ll be more likely to make a decision”  Reason for Request – “If you give a reason for making that decision, I’ll also be more likely to make a decision”  Contrast Principle – “One of the most powerful things you can do is help me see the value of something, but we don’t have an internal value meter that tells you how much everything is worth, so we always evaluate things in comparison to other things.”
  10. 10. 0 HFI PET (Persuasion Emotion Trust)  Visceral Processing – “The way our brains automatically respond to stimuli, like bright saturated colours and smooth objects.”  Social Proof – “Assume popular things are things that are worthwhile”  Social Learning – “We are influenced by others, especially by people like us or people we respect”  Scarcity – “If there is much of something left, people must really want it or it must be really worthwhile.”  Extrinsic Reward – “Give people something, that can help motivate people to act”  Association – “Link a specific image with a specific concept”  Written Public Statement – “Ask people to put something in writing, they are much more likely to follow through with that later
  11. 11. 1 HFI PET (Persuasion Emotion Trust) Optimal Level of Dissonance Feel Good Principle Reason for Request Contrast Principle Visceral Processing Social Proof Social Learning Scarcity Extrinsic Reward Association Written Public Statement
  12. 12. 2 B J Fogg: Persuasion as Simplicity  The minimally satisfying solution at the lowest cost (not the most elegant or the ultimate solution)  Depends on the person  Depends on the context  Depends on a person’s resources  Therefore, simplicity is not a characteristic of the product, it is the perception of an experience we have of accomplishing the task Time To some degree these can be traded off against each other, but ultimately, simplicity is a function of the scarcest resource at that moment. Perceived simplicity is completing a task with less resources than expected (so set expectations high) Money Physical Effort Thinking Effort Deviation from Social Norm Routine
  13. 13. 3 B J Fogg: Persuasion as Simplicity So phone apps have become so simple to buy, many of us have hundreds of fascinating applications we don’t actually need or use  How did we ever manage before without applications like Easy Fart Likewise the Kindle Store or even iTunes
  14. 14. 4 MINDSPACE: Public Sector Persuasion Paul Dolan et.al. synthesised a public sector methodology:  Messenger: One of us / respected authority  Incentives: Avoiding loss, Gain, Over-weighting small probabilities  Norms: Do what others do  Defaults: Go with the flow  Salience: What’s new or in it for me  Priming: Getting in the (unconscious) mood, setting expectations  Affect: Emotional, not deliberative, responses drive decisions  Commitments: We try to uphold our public promises  Ego: We like to act in ways that make us feel better about yourselves
  15. 15. 5 MINDSPACE I don’t have the space here to unpack the whole model!
  16. 16. 6 Thaler & Sunstein: Choice Architecture (Nudge) Or time to unpack Richard Thaler & Cass Sunsten’s ...  iNcentives  Understand Mappings  Defaults  Give Feedback  Expect Error  Structure Complex Choices
  17. 17. 7 Why Persuasion Doesn’t Always Work Incongruence: We don’t have to make sense (in the moment) Example of someone holding conflicting beliefs
  18. 18. 8 Why Persuasion Doesn’t Always Work Hierarchy of Goals: We don’t have to make sense (over time) Example of divergent goals: The yo-yo diet Determined to Lose Weight Determined to Lose Weight Want to Enjoy Life Want to Enjoy Life Ashamed of “slipping” Ashamed of “slipping” Get slim for Special Event Get slim for Special Event Too busy to Eat Well Too busy to Eat Well
  19. 19. 9 Why Persuasion Doesn’t Always Work Low Trust Poor Usability & Trust damage Persuasion: The engaged user may become ambivalent and ultimately inactive if the online process is frustrating, anxiety- provoking, or both. High Trust Low Usability High Usability I am impatient! I am cautious…I am inactive. I am engaged. Concern decreases trust Frustration decreases motivation
  20. 20. 0 Criticisms of Persuasiveness  None of the agree  Too controlling  Paternalist: Big Brother has your best interests at heart  Manipulative: a Licence for Snake Oil Merchants  Is it all just a bit Spivvy?  Too much psychology and too little practical advice  Just Bits and Bobs of Psychology bolted together  Things that have been known for a long time, are “discovered” and described by “science words” by psychologists (eg, priming)  Treats people as all the same  As tested on American college students  A lot of it is really about good visual design  And the rest of it is really about good narrative (often through imagery)
  21. 21. 1 Criticisms of Persuasiveness If these 6 (or 70 or 9 or 6) factors are so crucial to persuasion, how come these have been so successful: And why are we often blind to flashy attention grabbing stuff? Unless it’s very very …………………..
  22. 22. 2 Elaboration Likelihood Model Petty and Cacioppo [Ca-cho-po] suggest there are two ways we make decisions / get persuaded:  When we are motivated and able to pay attention, we take a logical, conscious thinking, central route to decision-making. This can lead to permanent change in our attitude as we adopt and elaborate upon the speaker’s arguments.
  23. 23. 3 Elaboration Likelihood Model  In other cases, we take the peripheral route. Here we do not pay attention to persuasive arguments but are swayed instead by surface characteristics such as whether we like the speaker. In this case although we do change, it is only temporary (although it is to a state where we may be susceptible to further change).
  24. 24. 4 Elaboration Likelihood Model So it depends how involved your user is. The right word at the right moment can be just as good to an involved user. That’s how Google has made a lot of money out of these: This has low peripheral cue complexity, and is more appropriate and effective for highly involved and motivated individuals – say those visiting Edinburgh Higher degrees of peripheral cue complexity pique the attention of minimally involved individuals and lead to more elaborate and focused cognitive processing of the message itself – or flash stuff gets your attention when you weren’t bothered
  25. 25. 5 Persuasion: How to test it? For increased engagement and conversion rates:  Usability Tests focusing on persuasion rather than ease of use – so less on the shopping basket funnel, and more on what goes on before the “Buy Now” button  Expert Evaluation using one of the methods as heuristics For behavioural change:  Ethnographic Studies  Longitudinal Studies  Contextual Studies  Interviewing with sensitivity for incongruity and over adaptation, listening for “try to”, and mixed hierarchy of goals (trying to avoid what people will think they will do, compared to what they will do)
  26. 26. 6 Persuasion: Any defence against it? No Not really Unless it goes too far Even when we know its going on, it is hard to resist...
  27. 27. 7 Persuasion: What Supermarkets Do  Entrance hall and wide aisles at start of shop that funnel down into narrower aisles to slow down walking pace – this is part of the bounce pattern  Fresh produce at start of shop to suggest freshness  Bakery smell vented into shop to stimulate hunger & suggest freshness  Carefully managed display lighting to suggest freshness  CCTV at shop entrance to encourage safety & deter shoplifting  Careful management of product display (eye-line (59” woman, 64” man and best viewing angle 15° below 0) facing, tumble display, end-cap, price spread (premium, value, budget), shelf-talkers  Matched special offers and coupons to promote cross-sells  Statements about price checking  Family car parking near door to give extra care to big spenders  Promote impulse buying (2/3 of your baskets)  Loss leaders on basics  Bargain hunters tend to actually spend more  Changing mood music tempo and volume
  28. 28. 8 Thank you For further information, please contact: Rob van Tol User Vision 55 North Castle Street Edinburgh EH2 3QA Tel: 0131 240 1492 Email: rob@uservision.co.uk Web: www.uservision.co.uk

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