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The Increasing Influence of Digital Psychology in Digital Strategy


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We believe that combining the principles of disciplines like Behavioural Psychology, Social Cognitive Psychology and Behavioural Economics with concepts like Customer Experience Design and Social Engagement Strategy will enhance our ability to analyse, interpret and influence audience behaviour.

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The Increasing Influence of Digital Psychology in Digital Strategy

  1. 1. | | +44 20 7173 2800 the increasing influence of digital psychology in digital strategy
  2. 2. | | +44 20 7173 2800 We’re making understanding digital psychology a priority, should you? For the past twenty years, digital practitioners have been developing and evolving user strategy methodologies to tackle the continuous challenges presented by the developing web. Meanwhile, computing and technology have presented Psychologists with fertile new territory and prompted whole new specialisms like Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Cyber Psychology. Now, at Reading Room, we’re combining these two disciplines to create a more sophisticated toolkit that will help guide our clients through the next evolution of digital technology. This is not about applying the principlesof behavioural psychology or decision theory to meet a particular challenge – that’s business as usual. This is about forging a new interdisciplinary approach, and developing new methodologies built on experimental techniques. So why is this so important? Put simply, the increasing proliferation of new channels and devices means established UX principles require constant re-evaluation, and the practice of user research requires ever more careful analysis to tease out meaningful insights. On the one hand, human behaviour is evolving in response to new technologies, platforms and social contexts. On the other, new technologies are giving rise to hitherto unknown forms of human computer interaction that present untested design challenges For example, in Sonja Song’s recent work, she has applied experimental research techniques to understand the psychological motivations behind sharing, and the touchstones that can make a post spread to new audiences. And we’ve recently been using similar techniques to profile research respondents and detect sources of bias to derive more value from statistical data. So what exactly do we mean by the term digital psychology? In truth, it’s a term we have coined to simplify and help communicate an approach that draws equally from established digital disciplines and the behavioural sciences. We believe that combining the principles of disciplines like Behavioural Psychology, Social Cognitive Psychology, and Behavioural Economics with concepts like Customer Experience Design and Social Engagement Strategy will enhance our ability to analyse, interpret and influence audience behaviour. This will help us formulate increasingly sophisticated and effective digital strategies for our clients. We’re not alone in this quest, others have dubbed this emerging field ‘web psychology’ but we think that the application of these concepts goes well beyond the web, hence our preference for the term ‘digital psychology’. Internet enabled technology won’t remain confined to screen based interactions for long and we want Digital Psychology to encompass work on emerging contexts like the Internet of Things. For example, in-car technology is a rapidly developing area of interest. Google’s new driverless car is a case in point, a recent article published by Eric Jaffe on FastCo design suggests that the anthropomorphic design that has attracted criticism, is in fact a deliberate ploy to make it easier to trust that machine to drive you about. And as dashboard computers become the latest battleground between Apple and Google, how can we design content and experiences that will both suit the devices and compliment the driving experience without causing accidents. The potential psychological ramifications of these new contexts are perhaps best summed up by the film ‘Her’. The central premise of the movie, directed by Spike Jonze, focuses on the extreme ways in which our relationships with technology may evolve. The surprisingly believable storyline takes the viewer on a journey as the lonely broken–hearted protagonist buys and falls in love with a new, advanced operating system called Samantha. Now we’re not suggesting that’s going to happen anytime soon, but it does give us cause to stop and wonder how much our understanding of human behaviour may be challenged in the next few years, and hopefully explains why we think that advancing digital thinking through the adoption of Digital Psychology is the right way to go. We believe that combining the principles of disciplines like Behavioural Psychology, Social Cognitive Psychology, and Behavioural Economics with concepts like Customer Experience Design and Social Engagement Strategy willenhance our ability to analyse, interpret and influence audience behaviour.
  3. 3. | | +44 20 7173 2800 How digital psychology could be applied? Audience profiling Web analytics Sales analytics Macro trends Market research Principlesof Psychology User testing Persuasive design Optimising UX Productand servicedesign Marketing andcomms Audience testing CHANGING BEHAVIOURINFLUENCI NG DECISIONS IMPROVING REL ATIONSHIPSIMPROVING DESIGN Campaigns(sales,policy,activism) Digitaltransformation (internalcultureprocesses) Developingmoredesirablethings Developingprocesses andservicesaroundpeopleRedesigninguserjourneys Organisingcontent Choicearchitecture Messagingandmotivation You’re likely already considering some psychological factors in your everyday communications whether you recognise it or not. The below is by no means exhaustive but certainly gives cause to consider digital psychology’s place in your business. Social sharing, how to ensure your content gets shared? Focus on both the unconscious and conscious mind. Beautiful photos, simple messages and uppercase words should be accompanied by sophisticated language and turning points in the messages. 2nd screen and multitasking: how to ensure your content is being understood? Acknowledge the limitations of human cognitive capacity and the limitations of our focus as users: ensure that interfaces are designed with cognitive load in mind. Assisted digital: how to facilitate digital use between generations? One’s thinking patterns change depending on one’s experiences. Focus on custom designed digital technology in order to accommodate the needs of digital natives and educate the digital immigrants. Donation / Charity: how to increase pro-social behaviour? Our motivations are varied: intrinsic – pure altruism, extrinsic – getting something for it, and personal-image-led motivation. Consider emotions such as pride and empathy and take viewers on an emotional journey. And lastly: hypothesise, test, refine, repeat The best way to discover what really influences behaviour is through agile iterative development and regularly refining learning to determine with much greater certainty the causal relationship between digital communications variables.
  4. 4. | | +44 20 7173 2800 Today’s speakers Dr Jens Binder Senior Lecturer of Cyber Psychology at Nottingham Trent University Jens is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and a member of the Division of Psychology in the School of Social Sciences. He is currently involved in the running of the BSc Psychology course and teaches chiefly on Social psychology, Cyberpsychology and Research Methods. He also regularly supervises 3rd year dissertations and Masters projects. Jens’s research interests correspond to his teaching and focus on social psychology and human-computer interaction. Jens is primarily interested in social psychology, with particular reference to social interactions and new technologies. He has investigated interactive settings on various levels, from intergroup relationships to small group processes, dyadic friendships and social networks. In particular, he is fascinated by issues surrounding co-operation and competition; social exchange theories of relationships; the novelties that internet-based technologies add to these areas; applications of social psychological theories and models; and the overlap between social and evolutionary and cognitive psychology. In addition, he takes a methodological interest in the analysis of personal networks and other applications of multi-level modelling. Professor Peter Ayton Associate Dean Research & Deputy Dean Social Sciences Peter Ayton is professor of psychology in the department of psychology at City University London. His research is concerned with human judgement and decision making. His published papers cover subjects such as overconfidence; risk perception, risky decision-making, fallacies of human judgment and the impact of computer support on decision making. He spent last year as a visiting scholar at the Anderson school of Business, University of California Los Angeles and has previously been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Carnegie-Mellon universities in the USA; the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Germany and INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and Singapore. He is a member of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making and the European Association of Decision Making. His books include ‘Judgmental Forecasting’, ‘Subjective Probability and ‘Myths and facts about football: The economics and psychology of the worlds greatest sport’ Dr. Chryssa Stefanidou Behavioural Psychologist Chryssa provides Reading Room with a revolutionary scientific approach in the Digital Technology research and consulting areas. Introducing the behavioural sciences disciplines into the digital arena, assures that the audience can be better understood, the products created have their intended effect, and that the ultimate goal for a great audience’s experience is accomplished. During her PhD research, she conducted an extensive and experimental research analysing how the audience interacts with media. Her work has highlighted and revealed a strong relationship that exists between humans and media, a relationship that is shaped and established within a psychological framework. Ian Huckvale Head of User Engagement As Head of User Engagement, Ian champions the user centric design process at Reading Room, creating cutting edge user experience for our clients. He is responsible for working with clients to fully understand their business objectives, audience needs and communication requirements – and to use these to develop digital strategy that will inform a clients’ web-presence, content and online services to make them effective and engaging. He oversees user experience, information architecture, content development and design solutions across the business, working with designers and developers to ensure our website solutions are both usable and accessible, in accordance with best practice and web-standards. He has a deep knowledge of content strategy and experience in developing both distributed and local content models, content architecture, web-services, metadata application profiles, classification models and taxonomy. He is heavily involved in the user research we carry out to better understand audience needs and behaviours, conducting user workshops, focus groups, user testing, stakeholder interviews, persona development and various other research methodologies and techniques. Simon Nash Experience and Engagement Expert Simon is a digital planner and content strategist with 15 years experience working across a combination of traditional and digital media. He specialises in multi-channel experience design and content strategy and he champions these across Reading Room’s global business as well as on the digital conference circuit. Simon applies a co-ordinated ‘system thinking’ led approach to digital strategy - he is equally passionate about optimising digital services and experiences as he is a proponent of digitally-led organisational change – and has helped major organisations including Arts Council England, City and Guilds Group, Pernod Ricard, Visit England and London Business School transform the way they work with digital. His wider interests extend to the future directions of the web, emerging digital technologies and their impact on culture and society - and he organises our thriving Digital Conversations Meetup to explore these subjects with London’s digital community. Polly Willson Strategy Director Since joining Reading Room over 10 years ago, Polly’s work has been focused on developing relationships and nurturing communications in whatever guise: apart from the obvious digital immersion, Polly’s real interest lays in how people communicate and the organic learning and evolution we all have as individuals within a larger story. Within Reading Room, Polly’s focus is in using behavioural and organisational insight alongside the creative use of technology to make digital deliver. As of late, this has centred around delivery of content and engagement strategy as part of broader digital transformation planning. Regardless of particular digital trend or innovation, she actively champions the digital community, nurturing new talent in the industry and across Reading Room.