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The Subtle Art of Persuasion


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Published in: Technology, Business, Design
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The Subtle Art of Persuasion

  1. 1. persuasion The subtle art of Thanks I’d like to tell you about a little experiment…
  2. 2. Story: How temperature influences us.
  3. 3. Introductions: Clearleft / Silverback / dConstruct / UXLondon
  4. 4. “…our medium is not technology – it's behaviour ” Robert Fabricant/Interaction09 “Interaction design is not about computing technology” Apparently controversial? IMO, entirely appropriate.
  5. 5. My approach to design Captured in Kolko’s Thoughts on IxD:
  6. 6. “Interaction Design is the creation of a dialogue between a person and a product, service or system…
  7. 7. …This dialogue is usually found in the world of behaviour.” Participatory / Reactionary / Instinctive / Emotion An undeniable part of how we engage with our products & services. We participate in a dialogue, conversation, relationships
  8. 8. The behavioural layer Designing for The Behavioural Layer. But how much do we really know about this? Is our perception, our decision making process as balanced, as rational as we think? Opening story demonstrates that if anything, behaviour is at the very least complex. Unpredictable. At times, irrational
  9. 9. Example taken from Dan Ariely’s Irrational Behaviour. We make decisons based on relative/comparative value. Simply not as good as making choices without this level of context. An example of Persuasive Design?
  10. 10. “Persuasion Design is used to improve marketing and sales messages by analyzing their verbal content, using established psychological researchquot; Wikipedia defines PD thus. Evil? Continues by saying how “controlling the message can lead to significantly higher conversion rates”.
  11. 11. “The best thinkers in graphic design have long held that information and persuasion were oppositional modes of design…Some content is understood as information and some content is labelled as persuasion, promotion or even propaganda. In this scheme of things, information is noble.” Designer cynicism. Reflects the potential for this to be misused. Exploitation. Rhetoric.
  12. 12. “Perhaps information and persuasion are not an either/or opposition. More likely they are modes of communication that overlap and interact.” Not the philosophy or the methods that are at fault. Intention is the decisive factor. If we subscribe to the notion that we are creating dialogue, then all the usual rules of politeness and manners apply. Interruption. Flash banners.
  13. 13. How are we influenced? Reiterate: We operate within The Behavioural Layer. Reiterate: Our psychology means we are open to influence. But how, as humans, are we influenced?
  14. 14. 1. Place 2. Objects 3. People Areas of influence can be loosely divided in to three areas.
  15. 15. 1. Place 2. Objects 3. People
  16. 16. Response to the place, environment around us (although perhaps not consciously?) Architecture can be eective at mediating this kind of response. Staircase in intentionally exposed in the central social hub of the building. Exposes fluidity, movement of inhabitants. Creates opportunity for chance encounters, serendipitous exchanges. No instruction. Just implication. Contrast with the NCP car park model (afterthoughts, utility, piss, tramps)
  17. 17. Socio-architecture Central squares are common in European towns and cities. All roads lead to one place. Alive. Spirited. Stimulating. Dynamic. Encourages exchange. Socio-architecture (psychologist Humphry Osmond Canadian architect Kyo Izumi) – part of their research for the best architectural form for a mental hospital in 1951.
  18. 18. Places Socio-petal Osmond/Izumi also coined terms quot;sociopetalquot; and quot;sociofugalquot; to describe seating arrangements that encourage/discourage social interaction. Socio-petal: arranged so that each can see and interact with the others
  19. 19. Look what happened when I tried to take my 2 year old daughter away!
  20. 20. Places Broken Windows Theory In contrast: Broken Windows Theory. First ‘suggested’ by George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles Controversy. Giuliani’s ‘zero tolerance’. Coincided with reduced crime rates across the US. Takeaway: Theory based on the notion that our behaviour is in some way a function of the environment around us.
  21. 21. 1. Place 2. Objects 3. People So we know we’re influenced by the environment around us. How about the Objects/Things within them?
  22. 22. Beauty Again, we are influenced in many ways. Beauty.
  23. 23. 1.61803399 Mathematicians and philosophers have studied this number for years. Design that obeys these proportions appears harmionious to the eye. It appears as if we have an in-built aesthetic sensibility.
  24. 24. The Golden Ratio Appears in nature
  25. 25. In architecture Some studies of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, conclude that many of its proportions approximate the golden ratio.
  26. 26. In art Da Vinci’s illustrations in De Divina Proportione demonstrate how bodily proportions conform to the golden ratio. Mona lisa specualtion. Salvador Dali explicitly used the GR in ‘The Sacrament of the Last Supper’
  27. 27. Industrial Design Screen to body ratio: 1 : 1.67 = iPod 1 : 1.75 = iRiver H10 1 : 1.47 = Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Not a reason for success but certanly a contributing factor. People often struggle to articualte why something is more attractive. A dormant/latent sentiment?
  28. 28. Attractiveness bias Beauty is a human attribute as well: in-built Attractiveness bias Humans we are simply hard-wired to respond more favourably to attractive people. Studies of babies show they will look more intently and longer at prettier faces. A study of the 1974 Canadian federal elections found that attractive candidates received more than two and a half times the votes of the unattractive ones A Pennsylvania study, examined 74 defendants – found that good looking received significantly lighter sentences. Twice as likely to avoid a prison sentence than unattractive defendants. A recent Guildhall University survey of 11,000 33-year-olds found that unattractive men earned 15 % less than those deemed attractive. Simialrly, plain women earned 11 % less than their prettier counterparts.
  29. 29. 1. Place 2. Objects 3. People …leads to people. We now know that both the environment/place we’re in + the objects/things around us can have a profound influence on the way we behave. Often on a subliminal level. So how about those around us…
  30. 30. Video:
  31. 31. Social proof Social proof: in situations in which we don’t know what course of action to take we tend to watch and rely on the behaviour of others to determine our own. Hundreds of people in line for something = assume they must be queuing for somethign worthwhile. Apple know this of course and broadcast all the pictures of hungry people queuing for the iPhone. Eect: the iPhone must be worth it? A nudge towards it at the every least. Very common for us to rely on simple rules of thumb like this.
  32. 32. Social proof The Empty restaurant. Deserted. Far less inclined to venture in Why waiters try and sit you near the window. Connected to our survival instincts? Safety in numbers? Everything in psychology comes back to us ‘surviving on the plains of the Savannah!’
  33. 33. Help save the environment by participating in our towel use program. Social proof From Robert Cialdini ‘Influence’. Experiment to use messaging to help the environment (hotel towel reuse)
  34. 34. The majority of guests at our hotel recycle their towels at least once during their stay. Social proof Towel recycling rose by 26%
  35. 35. The majority of the people who stayed in this room participated in the towel recycling program Social proof Towel recycling rose by 33% Guests were more influenced by social factors than environmental. Social software a powerful tool in helping tackle environmental issues.
  36. 36. Social proof
  37. 37. Social proof
  38. 38. Social proof
  39. 39. Social proof
  40. 40. The visceral layer What’s happening here? What’s the psychology? How and why are these decisions being made? Often beneath normal level of consciousness: people are highly unlikely to acknowledge that they have been ‘primed’, or influenced in any way. Visceral layer? Biology...we as mammals, primates are attracted to bright colours. Like this bee. We have adapted, evolved to behave in this way. This is built in to our brain. Again survival instincts. Some examples of design that operates eectively on this layer:
  41. 41. International Energy Agency estimate that between 5 and 15% of the world's domestic electricity is wasted by gadgets left on standby. British designer, Rachel Turner for the Greener Gadgets competition.
  42. 42. “These little monster eyes tap into our uneasiness about things that go bump in the night. They give us a little extra emotional nudge to remind us to turn our gadgets o properly - especially when we head o to bed.” Tapping in the fact that subconsciously we don’t respond well to angry, frowning faces. “Emotional nudge”: lovely way of phrasing this level of influence.
  43. 43. As designers we have the opportunity to not only acknowledge, but also design for this level. Doesn’t need to be complex (speculate that simple is better for this to be eective) Subverts the usual model using almost human characteristics. Provokes a reaction. Creates influence.
  44. 44. Play The Power-Hog is designed to expose kids to the energy costs associated with running electronic devices. Plug the tail into the outlet and the device into the snout; feed a coin to meter for 30 minutes of use. Playful. Builds on the in-built notion of play. More hard-wired behaviour.
  45. 45. Control Close buttons often don’t actually do anything (other than allow lift techs to hack) = Placebo button. Designed to allow users to feel ‘in control’. The illusion of control. In this case designed to allay irrational behaviour?
  46. 46. Poka-yoke Similarly designing defensively to ensure people can’t make mistakes This the concept of Poka-yoke: a Japanese term that means quot;mistake-proofingquot; Achieved by putting limits on how an operation can be performed in order to force the desired completion of the operation. Automatic cars (key cannot be removed unless gearbox is left in P(ark). Microwave doors that disable the use. Macbook batteries. SD cards.
  47. 47. Sensible, considered defaults Hashem Akbari wants to paint the worlds roofs white. The Guardian: “Together, roads and roofs are reckoned to cover more than half the available surfaces in urban areas, which have spread over some 2.4% of the Earth's land area. A mass movement to change their colour…would increase the amount of sunlight bounced o our planet by 0.03%…that would cool the Earth enough to cancel out the warming caused by 44bn tonnes of CO2 pollution.” Ambitious, but how much can we achieve through consideration of sensible default states?
  48. 48. Systems like (scrobbler) rarely interrupt, instead they gather silently. The product’s output is simply a manifestation of my typical, intrinsic behaviour. The data and therefore the value of my dialogue with emerges through use.
  49. 49. “The most profound technologies are those that disappear.” The Computer for the 21st Century Mark Weiser Embedded or at least aligned with our normal behaviour
  50. 50. Round up: 1. We’ve learnt that we often make irrational choices even when we believe our decision is a rational, balanced one. 2. That we’ve inbuilt biases like The Bandwagon Eect that can influence us in profound unexpected ways. Message: if we are designing for the Behavioural Layer – and I we believe we are – then we must do more than acknowledge it .we must try and understand and design appropriately. Now more than ever, the world is facing up to the some terrifying challenges. In many ways, it’s our behaviour that has got us here. As designers we have an opportunity to influence people’s behaviour in a positive way.
  51. 51. quot;If we know the common patterns of error or self- deception, maybe we can work around them ourselves, or build social structures for smarter groups. We know we aren't perfect, and can't be perfect, but trying is better than not trying.quot;
  52. 52. This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.
  53. 53. Thanks for listening
  54. 54. Image credits
  55. 55. References: