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How You Can Fight Bias with Content Strategy

Users' minds take shortcuts to get through the day. We call these cognitive biases. Usually they’re harmless. Even helpful. But what happens when they’re not? In this talk I’ll use real-world examples to identify some particularly nasty biases that frequently lead users to make bad decisions. I'll then talk about some content strategy and design choices we can use in our apps, designs, and platforms to redirect or eliminate the impact of those biases. Finally, I'll explore our own biases as designers and some methods to prevent our own blind spots from hurting users.

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How You Can Fight Bias with Content Strategy

  1. 1. How You Can Fight Bias with Content Strategy Using Mental Shortcuts for Good Instead of Evil
  2. 2. #fightbias
  3. 3. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com David Dylan Thomas Principal, Content Strategy Think Company
  4. 4. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  5. 5. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  6. 6. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  7. 7. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com What is cognitive bias?
  8. 8. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com A series of shortcuts our minds take that often help, but sometimes hurt.
  9. 9. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  10. 10. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Reactance
  11. 11. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  12. 12. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  13. 13. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Survivorship Bias
  14. 14. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  15. 15. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Confirmation Bias
  16. 16. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  17. 17. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com These biases are extremely difficult to combat You may not know you have them (bias blind spot) 90% of cognition happens below the conscious level Even if you do know, you do it anyway!
  18. 18. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Choice architecture: or why you need to know about cognitive bias
  19. 19. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  20. 20. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Think about what decisions your user needs to make
  21. 21. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Then think about how people make decisions
  22. 22. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com There are content and design choices we can make that help keep harmful cognitive biases in check (or leverage them for good).
  23. 23. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Blind Résumés
  24. 24. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Whom would you rather hire?
  25. 25. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Why do you need that information?
  26. 26. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Content Strategy: Signal vs. Noise Signal Qualifications Experience Noise Gender Race
  27. 27. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  28. 28. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Cognitive Fluency
  29. 29. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Easy to read = Easy to do
  30. 30. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Hard to read = Hard to do
  31. 31. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  32. 32. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  33. 33. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  34. 34. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Which of these would you rather fill out?
  35. 35. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Which of the following is true? There are 53 African nations in the United Nations There are 55 African nations in the United Nations
  36. 36. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”
  37. 37. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”
  38. 38. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Whom do you trust?
  39. 39. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  40. 40. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  41. 41. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  42. 42. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com How Amazon fights primacy
  43. 43. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  44. 44. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com How to fight the bandwagon effect
  45. 45. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  46. 46. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com How to fight the framing effect
  47. 47. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  48. 48. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  49. 49. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Should this person drive this car?
  50. 50. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com How might this person drive this car?
  51. 51. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com How might we do a better job of moving people around?
  52. 52. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Dark patterns?
  53. 53. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  54. 54. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Choice supportive bias
  55. 55. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  56. 56. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com If you are willing to disclose to your user why you have designed the way you have, maybe it’s not a dark pattern?
  57. 57. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com What about our own cognitive biases?
  58. 58. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Confirmation Bias
  59. 59. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  60. 60. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com 2 4 6 ?
  61. 61. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com 2 4 6 8
  62. 62. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com 2 4 6 7
  63. 63. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  64. 64. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Deformation Professionnelle
  65. 65. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  66. 66. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  67. 67. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Our jobs are harder than we think
  68. 68. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  69. 69. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  70. 70. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  71. 71. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  72. 72. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Project Maven Battlefield AI
  73. 73. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Project Maven Battlefield AI Dragonfly Censored Search in China
  74. 74. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
  75. 75. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  76. 76. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com#fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Thank You

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