Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Summary of Nudge, presented to IxDA LA

42,749 views

Published on

This is a presentation that covers the basic concepts of the book Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. We read this book at our UX Book Club meeting, and I presented an introduction to it at the LA IxDA meeting.

Summary of Nudge, presented to IxDA LA

  1. 1. an introduc+on to  Nudge Improving Decisions About  Health, Wealth, and Happiness  by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein presented by Sarah G. Mitchell What I am presenting is only an introduction to this rich and in-depth book. If you’re interested in what I cover here, I encourage you to read the book. Both of the authors are economists and professors, and Cass Sunstein now leads the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In the book they focus on public policy, and situations like healthcare, the environment, and saving for retirement, but many of the concepts they cover have relevance to the kinds of situations and choices we design.
  2. 2. What is a nudge? A nudge is any aspect of the design of a choice (“choice architecture”) that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way, without forbidding anything or actually changing the choice at all. The example that went out in the event invitation was the clever internet cafe named their wireless network “Have you tried the carrot cake.”
  3. 3. Why do we need nudges?
  4. 4. Freedom of choice  is best, right? Many economists (and some of the engineers I know) like to say that we don’t know better than the user/chooser, that we should present all options to people, and let them choose. The authors say this makes the false assumption that almost all people, almost all of the time, make choices that are in their best interest, or at least are better than choices someone else would make for them.
  5. 5. They are assuming that we are all like Spock. (Or maybe like a true Vulcan, since Spock is actually half human, as we all know.) And like Spock we always only choose the most logical choice. However, while part of our mind really is like Spock, we all have TWO decision makers in our head who battle it out for each decision - our Spock (in scientific terms, our Reflective Cognitive System) and but also our Homer (Automatic Cognitive System).
  6. 6. vs. “Gut” “Mind” (Automa+c Cogni+ve System)  (Reflec+ve Cogni+ve System)  They are assuming that we are all like Spock. (Or maybe like a true Vulcan, since Spock is actually half human, as we all know.) And like Spock we always only choose the most logical choice. However, while part of our mind really is like Spock, we all have TWO decision makers in our head who battle it out for each decision - our Spock (in scientific terms, our Reflective Cognitive System) and but also our Homer (Automatic Cognitive System).
  7. 7. Here’s a classic example. Spock would look at this image and see clearly that the two tabletops are exactly the same size. But most of us feel pretty sure that the one on the left is longer and skinnier than the one on the right.
  8. 8. There is no such thing as  a nudge‐less choice. So the conclusion the authors draw from this is that SOMETHING is always influencing your choices. People are influenced by small factors in the design of an experience, so even if you don’t consciously design your choice architecture, it is still there, affecting the actions of the choosers.
  9. 9. • CAFETERIA LINE IMAGE Here’s another example. In this cafeteria, Spock would only put food on his tray that is good for him, only taking as much as he needs and only what he can afford. But our Homer is in there, reacting instinctively to many things, like which things are at the beginning versus the end, and which things are up at eye level and which are below. In fact, in one study mentioned in the book, the researchers were able to increase or decrease selection of specific foods by 25%, just by rearranging them.
  10. 10. So say you are designing a cafeteria layout. What should you do? Ignore the fact that the layout affects what people buy? Randomly rotate the placement of foods? Set it up to sell the most of the expensive stuff? Or set it up so people choose more healthy foods? The book encourages that last option with what they call “libertarian paternalism” - Nudging the user (through placement, in this example) to make the best choice for his well being - WHAT OUR SPOCK WOULD WANT, while not restricting choice at all. They are not banning junk food, just making it less likely that someone will choose it on their own.
  11. 11. When do we especially  need nudges?
  12. 12. When is our Spock particularly weak and our Homer particularly strong. This happens predictably in the following scenarios:
  13. 13. When we see the benefits  now, costs later.
  14. 14. I enjoy the benefit of this donut now, I pay the cost (to my health, waistline) later. I enjoy coming home to a cool house because my AC was running all day, I pay the costs (both bills and environmental) later.
  15. 15. When encountering decisions  we make infrequently.
  16. 16. We get better at everything through practice. If you had to optimize your investments as frequently you have to drive your car, you’d probably be better at it.
  17. 17. When feedback is not  immediate.
  18. 18. Think of the impact digital cameras had on hobby photography, largely because you can see right away what your picture looks like. Making investment decisions is kind of like the old film photography model. You rearrange some stuff, and hope when you go back to see the results you can remember what you did and extrapolate what worked and what didn’t.
  19. 19. When it is hard to imagine the  possible outcomes.
  20. 20. Imagine ordering at a restaurant from a menu in a language you do not understand. For many people, this is what it is like to try to decide between investing in a “capital appreciation fund” vs a “dynamic dividend fund.” The language of the choice selection makes it very hard to imagine what the options really mean to you.
  21. 21. PredicDng Homer’s  AcDons So we know that our gut, our Homer, has more influence our decisions in those types of situations. Fortunately, he’s pretty predictable, and therefore relatively easy to set up safeguards agains. I’ll cover 3 of the main ways to predict what people will do.
  22. 22. 1. We have predictable  mental biases.
  23. 23. Anchoring Bias: We are heavily biased by  where we start.
  24. 24. Say I told you, “the population of Chicago is 3 million. What is the population of Milwaukee?” You might guess something like 1 million.
  25. 25. If I instead told you, “The population of Green Bay is 100,000. What is the population of Milwaukee?” Most people guessed around 300,000. (The actual population is around 580,000.)
  26. 26. Availability Bias: We overes+mate the  likelihood of events we can  easily remember. ?
  27. 27. We are much more scared of vivid and easily imagined threats (like plane crashes or tornadoes), than we are of mundane but much more common dangers (like asthma attacks). We are 20x more likely to die of asthma attack than tornado, so if we were purely rational, we’d be 20x more scared of asthma than tornadoes.
  28. 28. RepresentaDveness Bias: We some+mes see paMerns  where there are none.
  29. 29. Based on the beauty pageant contestants you’ve seen in the media lately, you might think that ALL of them are dumb as a post. (That’s not true.) Another example: If you wore your old hat during two games which your team won, you might assume that it’s a lucky hat, and that if you don’t wear it during the next game, your team will lose. (Sorry, there’s no connection.)
  30. 30. UnrealisDc OpDmism: Almost all of us think we are  beMer than average.
  31. 31. 90% predict they will score here. - + In one study the authors conducted, 90% of their students predicted they would finish in the top 2 percentiles in their class.
  32. 32. Loss Aversion: We are happy when we gain  something, but twice as  unhappy when we lose it.
  33. 33. It does seem that someone who wears this shirt might only have been half as worked up about getting the gun as he is about losing it.
  34. 34. Status Quo Bias: We rarely overcome iner+a.
  35. 35. This XBox live offer from Microsoft is banking on people’s personal inertia. You get one month of the gold service for $1, but then every month after that it bills you automatically at the full price. Only 70% of all eligible people ever enroll in their 401ks. Have you adjusted your 401k balance since you first set it up?
  36. 36. Framing Bias: “10 out of 100 die.” vs. “90 out of 100 are cured.”
  37. 37. July ’08 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: Who would be the riskier choice for president? Barack Obama 55% John McCain 35% Who would be the safer choice for president? Barack Obama 41% John McCain 46% Both of these questions were asked in the same poll at the same time of the same people. If the framing of the question had no effect on people, the responses here should just mirror each other.
  38. 38. Priming Bias: What we see or hear  immediately before a choice  affects how we behave.
  39. 39. When a national survey included this question, it increased purchase rates by 35%. Remember the cafe example from earlier. Just by seeing the phrase “Have you tried the carrot cake” when logging in to the wireless network increases the likelihood you’ll buy some.
  40. 40. 2. We predictably succumb  to temptaDon.
  41. 41. I’m on a diet.  Planner  The authors talk about the Spock-Homer empathy gap. Your planner does not fully appreciate how much your behaviors are altered when you are under the influence of temptation.
  42. 42. Mmmmmm, donut.... One is ok. Or two. Or three. Doer   The authors talk about the Spock-Homer empathy gap. Your planner does not fully appreciate how much your behaviors are altered when you are under the influence of temptation.
  43. 43. autopilot You also have a third system... Mindless choosing: your autopilot just continues doing what it’s used to - driving the same route, or continuing to eat when there’s food in front of you. There was one study mentioned in the book where participants were given very stale popcorn, either a large bag or a small bag, and then watched a movie. Participants with the large bag ate 34% more, just because it was there and they were on autopilot.
  44. 44. 3. We predictably  follow the herd.
  45. 45. We like to conform. This is at the root of speculative bubbles, internet memes, and fads. One phenomenon that drives us to conform is the “spotlight effect,” which makes us feel like people are paying closer attention to us--especially when we’re not conforming--than they really are. (I have a feeling this dude with the emover thinks everyone is paying attention to him.)
  46. 46. One particularly interesting ramification of the herd behavior is its effect on popularity lists. One experiment offered different groups of people the same set of downloadable mp3s with visible popularity data. In the end, the most popular songs for each group were not predictable and were not similar from group to group, except that they were lucky and picked by the first users of the system.
  47. 47. So how can we help  our Spock defeat  our Homer?
  48. 48. iNcen+ves Understand “mappings” Defaults Give Feedback Expect Error Structure Complex Choices
  49. 49. iNcen+ves Understand “mappings” Defaults Give Feedback Expect Error Structure Complex Choices
  50. 50. This fly is etched on the urinal as an aiming incentive, and was proven to reduce spillage by 80%. Another example is a social program that gives teen moms a dollar a day every day that they are not pregnant.
  51. 51. iNcen+ves Understand “mappings” Defaults Give Feedback Expect Error Structure Complex Choices
  52. 52. Mappings means how we translate data about an option into what it actually means for us, like translating kilowatts of energy into dollars on the electricity bill, or translating megapixels to maximum print size.
  53. 53. iNcen+ves Understand “mappings” Defaults Give Feedback Expect Error Structure Complex Choices
  54. 54. Not new to us - defaults are POWERFUL because of the Status Quo bias. You can default to opt-in, opt-out, or mandatory choice (which is like having yes/no radio buttons with nothing selected).
  55. 55. iNcen+ves Understand “mappings” Defaults Give Feedback Expect Error Structure Complex Choices
  56. 56. This device is designed to give you feedback about your energy usage AS you are using it. It is also mapping your usage to money, targeting your loss aversion, and it plans to tap into vast social pressures by broadcasting your usage statistics to Facebook and Twitter.
  57. 57. iNcen+ves Understand “mappings” Defaults Give Feedback Expect Error Structure Complex Choices
  58. 58. Also not new to interaction designers - plan for the errors. This is an example of planning for a (somewhat gruesome) common error tourists make when visiting London.
  59. 59. iNcen+ves Understand “mappings” Defaults Give Feedback Expect Error Structure Complex Choices
  60. 60. The paradox of choice is reduced if options are grouped. Or use strategies like “collaborative filtering” to reduce options presented. The example above uses many different groupings and filtering options to help you make the very complex choice, “Which of the thousands of songs on this site should I listen to now?”
  61. 61. Lots of UX Examples There are lots more examples out there (some of my colleagues will be presenting some now), and now that you know what to look for I’m sure you’ll see them. I’d just like to note that another tool we have as designers that this book doesn’t mention is emotion. Emotion is certainly a strong nudging factor, and many great UX minds such as Don Norman, Robert Fabricant, and Bill Buxton have written and spoken about using emotion in design.
  62. 62. Recap Nudges are about designing choices to try to help people make choices more with their rational mind (their inner Spock) and less with their gut. There are certain situations: Benefits now, cost later; decisions we have to make infrequently, places where the feedback isn’t immediate or the outcome is hard to imagine, where the Homer in us has the upper hand, and we can use our knowledge of our predictable psychology in these ways mentioned: incentives, understanding mappings, defaults, giving feedback, and structuring complex choices to nudge our Spock to rebalance the power.
  63. 63. PLUG! Join us @ the  UX Book Club! next mee+ng: July 22nd Designing Gestural Interfaces If you like what you saw here, join us! We read Nudge at our last meeting, and we plan to read lots more great stuff in the future. (Come on, all your friends are doing it!)

×