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PET 
Designing for Persuasion, 
Emotion and Trust 
Presented by Barry Briggs (@quiffboy) 
Monday 5th September 2011 
Northern User Experience 
#nuxuk
Today’s Session 
• A bit about us 
• Overview of Persuasion, Emotion and Trust (PET) 
• How PET works with User-Centered Design (UCD) 
• A look at some PET techniques in detail 
• Case study – applying PET to a real world example 
• The power of the Dark Side – using UX for evil
We are Code Computerlove 
Hello and welcome 
Some background 
• Established in 1999 & still independently owned 
• Current headcount of 55 people 
• Delivering a mix of strategy, channel, UX, creative & technical 
• Launched over 300 websites & online applications 
• Won lots of awards for the work
Hello, my name is 
Barry 
• UX Architect at Code Computerlove 
• Finished uni in 1998 & first “proper” 
job as a Web developer 
• Worked for a couple of digital 
agencies in Leeds before moving to 
William Hill in 2001 
• William Hill’s lead front-end 
developer before becoming their 
first UX Architect in 2005 
• Embedded UX values & principles 
into their design & development 
teams 
• Been at Code since May 2008 
Barry Briggs 
User Experience
Developing the user experience
User Centred Design 
Analysis Design Implementation 
Expert review 
Audience research 
Competitor review 
Design concepts 
Evaluation 
Expert review 
Analytics audit 
User personas 
User journeys 
Information architecture 
Prototypes 
Usability testing 
Standards & guidelines 
Usability testing 
Accessibility & standards 
User feedback 
User testing 
KPI measurement 
Stakeholder research 
Process engineering 
Design walkthrough 
Usability testing
Designing for 
Persuasion, Emotion & Trust 
Henceforth referred to as PET…
What is PET? 
• Rooted in social psychology & pioneered by Human Factors Inc 
• A methodology for making user experiences more engaging, 
compelling, and effective 
• 50+ techniques 
• Complements classic usability & user experience best practice 
• Adds a layer of psychology to “gently nudge” potential customers 
towards your stated goal 
• Offline retailers have been using similar tools for years
Facilitates activities: 
Browse 
Search 
Consume 
Comprehend 
Interact 
H o w P ET works alongside usability 
Usability 
Can Do 
PET 
Will Do 
Encourages users to: 
Engage 
Connect 
Convert 
Return
P.E.T. 
• Persuasion techniques relate to the mechanics; the 
triggers to an action 
• Emotion techniques are about eliciting a desired 
emotional response during a process 
• Trust techniques are for establishing credibility, 
providing assurances and removing risk
Evil Science? 
• Marketeers may notice some familiar concepts in here 
• Psychologists probably consider it a bit “Psych 101” 
• Some concepts may sound cynical, manipulative or exploitative 
• They could be used for evil purposes… 
• (We’ll show you some of these later) 
• Remember: It’s a toolset. Do with it what you will.
User Centred Design 
Analysis Design Implementation 
Expert review 
Audience research 
Competitor review 
Design concepts 
Evaluation 
Expert review 
Analytics audit 
User personas 
User journeys 
Information architecture 
Prototypes 
Usability testing 
Standards & guidelines 
Usability testing 
Accessibility & standards 
User feedback 
User testing 
KPI measurement 
Stakeholder research 
Process engineering 
Design walkthrough 
Common PET touch points 
within the larger UCD process 
Usability testing
Audience 
Research 
& User 
Understanding 
Site Goals 
Definition 
& Design 
How that works 
Build & Test 
Use the toolkit to 
identify which PET 
principles fit with 
your stated goals 
and then look to 
implement in your 
definition work
PET Toolkit
Persuasion 
The following summary describes some of the Persuasion techniques. 
Anchoring. When making decisions we rely too heavily on one piece of information or 
anchor. 
Authority. Use your authority and others will obey. 
Completion. We need to complete that which is started. 
Commitment. If we make a commitment, we often feel bound to follow through on it 
Consistency. We like to maintain consistency between what we think, say and do. 
Contrast. We notice and decide by difference between two things, not absolutes. 
Framing. Our perception is influenced by the information we are presented. 
Investment. If I have invested in something, I do not want to waste that investment. 
Reciprocation. If I give something to you, you are obliged to return the favour 
Repetition. If something happens often enough, I will eventually be persuaded. 
Scarcity. I want now what I may not be able to get in the future. 
Similarity. We trust people who are like us or who are similar to people we like. 
Social Proof. When uncertain we take cues other people
Consistency 
We like to maintain consistency 
between what we think, say and do
Consistency 
• Ask someone to state a position, declare their intentions or 
show a small gesture of support 
• Why? Because people don’t like to be seen to change their 
mind 
• People will generally act in a manner consistent with their first 
action 
• And here's the stinger: this applies even if a subsequent 
request asks them to make a much larger commitment – as 
long as it's consistent with their initial commitment
First you get an 
amount
Then you ask them 
to commit & enter 
their details 
Repeat the amount throughout 
the process to remind them of 
their initial pledge
Contrast 
When scanning visual information 
we are unconsciously drawn 
towards things which stand out 
from others
Contrast 
• What do you want people to focus on? 
• Use colour, shapes and sizes to create visual contrast 
• Subtle movements on an otherwise static page grab attention 
• Contrast can also be applied to time 
• Regular vs. Intermittent/occasional email newsletters
Framing 
Our perception is influenced 
by the information we are 
presented.
Framing 
• For difficult or important concepts, wrapping the 
action in a story can make it easier to understand 
and more persuasive 
• Framing subscriptions or regular payments as costing 
“less than a cup of coffee a day” can help people 
rationalise repeat payments
Examples of how your 
money will be used
Scarcity 
I want now what I may not be 
able to get in the future
Scarcity 
• We infer value in something that has limited availability 
or is promoted as being scarce 
• Can apply to goods or time-based offers
Offer applies this 
weekend only
WARNING: Overuse can 
devalue this technique
Social 
Proof 
People will do things that they 
see other people are doing
Other people 
are doing it, so 
it must be legit
Even people you know are 
doing it, so it must be GOOD
Emotion 
The following summary describes some of the Emotion principles. 
Visceral processing. We immediately react to pleasing visual stimuli. 
Behavioural processing. We respond favourably to learned, expected behaviours. 
Aesthetic usability. Aesthetically pleasing designs are often perceived to be easier to use. 
Arousal. When aroused we are fully engaged and hence more likely to pay attention 
Social contagion. Our emotions are affected by the actions of those we see around us. 
Optimal level of challenge. We like to be challenged and tested, but not too much. 
Goal setting. We are compelled to strive to achieve a goal if it is achievable. 
Knowledge of results. We continue our actions if we are shown evidence of their success.
Visceral 
processing 
We immediately react to 
pleasing visual stimuli
Visceral processing 
• Add surprise, delight and playful elements to create an emotional 
bond with your audience 
• Find subtle ways to add illustrative imagery, interactions, visual 
cues and visual feedback 
• These can brighten up routine tasks and feel like rewards when 
discovered 
• Can reinforce Framing
Behavioral 
processing 
We respond favourably to 
learned, expected behaviours
Behavioral processing 
• If it works like something we already know, it feels easier and we 
like it more 
• Learning how to use something new shouldn’t be hard work 
• One of the useful side-effects of Facebook’s ubiquity 
• Facebook, Amazon and eBay have set expectations for complex 
interactions such as image uploading, rating, liking, commenting 
• Learned interactions you can re-use 
• Creates self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment 
• Increased adoption, usage rates & satisfaction due to familiarity
Aesthetic 
usability 
Aesthetically pleasing designs are 
often perceived to be easier to use
Aesthetic usability 
• Attractive things work better 
• Or at least we perceive them to be easier to use 
• Opinions based on visual stimuli happen very quickly 
• This “first impression” can shape your perceptions 
• The halo effect
Optimal 
level of 
challenge 
We like to be challenged and 
tested, but not too much.
Optimal level of challenge 
• Game design – starts simple but gets harder as you progress 
• A game can live or die by getting this difficulty curve correct 
• Can create sense of achievement by making that process a 
little trickier 
• Not appropriate for all cases!
Trust 
Trust is influenced by a combination of factors which act as Trust Markers. 
Design quality. We perceive value in the things we see. 
Current content. Up-to-date content indicates freshness and responsiveness. 
Extensive quality content. We trust an authority that is plentiful with knowledgeable. 
Links. We judge other based on their recommendations and affiliations. 
Certifications. We trust established, certified organisations and trademarks. 
Testimonials. We trust organisations who trust and value their customers opinions 
Famous people and common people. I trust people like me, and celebrities I admire. 
Peer advice. We trust our peers more than we do official marketing bumf. 
Argue against self interest. We trust recommendations that are not in self interest. 
Technology. We always expect technology to work, trust is damaged if it does not.
Certifications 
We trust established, certified 
organisations and trademarks
Security messaging 
Accepted payment methods
Technology 
We always expect technology 
to work, trust is damaged if it 
does not
Case Study 
First TransPennine Express
Overview of TPE as a client
Their original site
Our first revision
Re-brand & re-work
Context-aware mobile site
We’ve had some great results 
Year One Year Two Year Three 
50% increase in 
return visits 
135% increase in 
online sales 
Year Four 
Travel Website of the 
year 2009 (DADIs) 
80% increase in 
online sales 
103% increase in 
online ticket sales 
Doubled customer 
database to 150,000 
45% increase in 
online sales
Let’s see some PET techniques in action
The basic advert. Usable 
but not inspiring
Price - OPTIMUM LEVEL 
OF DISSONANCE and 
CONTRAST
By-line – the wording draws the user in, 
creating engagement, DRIVE 
FULFILLMENT, FRAMING and FEEL GOOD. 
It also uses elements of OVERSTATING THE 
NEGATIVE IMPACT of not doing something
Call to action - implies 
SCARCITY or LIMITED 
DURATION 
Design elements - CONTRAST 
and VISCERAL PROCESSING
Official event logo – 
adds VISUAL APPEAL 
and CONTRAST, and 
serves as a TRUST 
MARKER
Change the branded imagery – using people adds 
FRAMING (and elements of SOCIAL PROOF) and 
builds on VISCERAL PROCESSING 
Example of 
typical savings 
allows the brain 
to calculate the 
worth and value 
of the price
Show the offer’s expiry date – 
compliments the call to action and 
the savings message to reinforce 
SCARCITY and LIMITED DURATION
The original Our new PET-enhanced 
version
The power of 
the Dark Side 
Image credit: 
Lucasfilm
Evil by design… 
• There’s a difference between BAD UX and EVIL UX 
• Bad UX can be down to poor attention to detail, 
laziness, lack of understanding of the web 
• Evil UX (boo hiss!) is completely the opposite…
Evil UX 
• It’s done by people who sit in chairs like this 
• No, honestly! 
• Evil UX is deliberately crafted with 
loving care 
• Utilises an understanding of human 
nature and psychology 
• Specifically designed to fool, trick 
or exploit users 
• Examples of this exist on the web, 
in software and even in the real world 
Image credit: 
Suck.uk.com
The box around this content 
uses a technique called 
Uniform Connectedness 
And placing this optional 
extra in with compulsory 
passenger information is a 
technique called Proximity 
Travel insurance 
Note how the 
instructions for removing 
insurance are OPT OUT, 
convoluted and located 
AFTER the option
Here’s the option to 
select no insurance - 
In between LATVIA 
and LITHUANIA
Image credit: 
nytimes.com 
Facebook’s 
privacy statement
OMG!! That would 
be a disaster… 
…IF either of these 
things happened… 
…and the 
standard password 
reminder service 
didn’t work. 
Skip this step
The (Don’t) Contact Us page 
• Offering a feedback form but no other contact details 
• Means the user has no record of contacting you, giving you 
plausible deniability 
• They cannot chase you up any other way 
• There’s no context to subsequent correspondence 
• Every follow-up must be done through the 
feedback form & feels like yet another first approach
Link to opt out is 
hidden behind a 
‘more info’ link 
Image credit: 
darkpatterns.org
Opt out 
Opt in 
Compulsory 
Image credit: 
darkpatterns.org
Facilitates activities: 
Browse 
Search 
Consume 
Comprehend 
Interact 
In Summary 
Usability 
Can Do 
PET 
Will Do 
Encourages users to: 
Engage 
Connect 
Convert 
Return
Further Reading 
• Human Factors International – pioneers of PET 
http://www.humanfactors.com/ 
• Mental Notes – Persuasion reference cards 
http://getmentalnotes.com/ 
• Changing Minds – Persuasion principles 
http://changingminds.org/principles/principles.htm 
• What makes them click? 
http://www.whatmakesthemclick.net 
• Dark Patterns – Examples of Evil UX in the wild 
http://wiki.darkpatterns.org/
Thank you 
Any questions?

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PET: Designing for Persuasion, Emotion and Trust

  • 1. PET Designing for Persuasion, Emotion and Trust Presented by Barry Briggs (@quiffboy) Monday 5th September 2011 Northern User Experience #nuxuk
  • 2. Today’s Session • A bit about us • Overview of Persuasion, Emotion and Trust (PET) • How PET works with User-Centered Design (UCD) • A look at some PET techniques in detail • Case study – applying PET to a real world example • The power of the Dark Side – using UX for evil
  • 3. We are Code Computerlove Hello and welcome 
  • 4. Some background • Established in 1999 & still independently owned • Current headcount of 55 people • Delivering a mix of strategy, channel, UX, creative & technical • Launched over 300 websites & online applications • Won lots of awards for the work
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7. Hello, my name is Barry • UX Architect at Code Computerlove • Finished uni in 1998 & first “proper” job as a Web developer • Worked for a couple of digital agencies in Leeds before moving to William Hill in 2001 • William Hill’s lead front-end developer before becoming their first UX Architect in 2005 • Embedded UX values & principles into their design & development teams • Been at Code since May 2008 Barry Briggs User Experience
  • 8. Developing the user experience
  • 9. User Centred Design Analysis Design Implementation Expert review Audience research Competitor review Design concepts Evaluation Expert review Analytics audit User personas User journeys Information architecture Prototypes Usability testing Standards & guidelines Usability testing Accessibility & standards User feedback User testing KPI measurement Stakeholder research Process engineering Design walkthrough Usability testing
  • 10. Designing for Persuasion, Emotion & Trust Henceforth referred to as PET…
  • 11. What is PET? • Rooted in social psychology & pioneered by Human Factors Inc • A methodology for making user experiences more engaging, compelling, and effective • 50+ techniques • Complements classic usability & user experience best practice • Adds a layer of psychology to “gently nudge” potential customers towards your stated goal • Offline retailers have been using similar tools for years
  • 12. Facilitates activities: Browse Search Consume Comprehend Interact H o w P ET works alongside usability Usability Can Do PET Will Do Encourages users to: Engage Connect Convert Return
  • 13. P.E.T. • Persuasion techniques relate to the mechanics; the triggers to an action • Emotion techniques are about eliciting a desired emotional response during a process • Trust techniques are for establishing credibility, providing assurances and removing risk
  • 14. Evil Science? • Marketeers may notice some familiar concepts in here • Psychologists probably consider it a bit “Psych 101” • Some concepts may sound cynical, manipulative or exploitative • They could be used for evil purposes… • (We’ll show you some of these later) • Remember: It’s a toolset. Do with it what you will.
  • 15. User Centred Design Analysis Design Implementation Expert review Audience research Competitor review Design concepts Evaluation Expert review Analytics audit User personas User journeys Information architecture Prototypes Usability testing Standards & guidelines Usability testing Accessibility & standards User feedback User testing KPI measurement Stakeholder research Process engineering Design walkthrough Common PET touch points within the larger UCD process Usability testing
  • 16. Audience Research & User Understanding Site Goals Definition & Design How that works Build & Test Use the toolkit to identify which PET principles fit with your stated goals and then look to implement in your definition work
  • 18. Persuasion The following summary describes some of the Persuasion techniques. Anchoring. When making decisions we rely too heavily on one piece of information or anchor. Authority. Use your authority and others will obey. Completion. We need to complete that which is started. Commitment. If we make a commitment, we often feel bound to follow through on it Consistency. We like to maintain consistency between what we think, say and do. Contrast. We notice and decide by difference between two things, not absolutes. Framing. Our perception is influenced by the information we are presented. Investment. If I have invested in something, I do not want to waste that investment. Reciprocation. If I give something to you, you are obliged to return the favour Repetition. If something happens often enough, I will eventually be persuaded. Scarcity. I want now what I may not be able to get in the future. Similarity. We trust people who are like us or who are similar to people we like. Social Proof. When uncertain we take cues other people
  • 19. Consistency We like to maintain consistency between what we think, say and do
  • 20. Consistency • Ask someone to state a position, declare their intentions or show a small gesture of support • Why? Because people don’t like to be seen to change their mind • People will generally act in a manner consistent with their first action • And here's the stinger: this applies even if a subsequent request asks them to make a much larger commitment – as long as it's consistent with their initial commitment
  • 21. First you get an amount
  • 22. Then you ask them to commit & enter their details Repeat the amount throughout the process to remind them of their initial pledge
  • 23. Contrast When scanning visual information we are unconsciously drawn towards things which stand out from others
  • 24.
  • 25. Contrast • What do you want people to focus on? • Use colour, shapes and sizes to create visual contrast • Subtle movements on an otherwise static page grab attention • Contrast can also be applied to time • Regular vs. Intermittent/occasional email newsletters
  • 26. Framing Our perception is influenced by the information we are presented.
  • 27. Framing • For difficult or important concepts, wrapping the action in a story can make it easier to understand and more persuasive • Framing subscriptions or regular payments as costing “less than a cup of coffee a day” can help people rationalise repeat payments
  • 28. Examples of how your money will be used
  • 29. Scarcity I want now what I may not be able to get in the future
  • 30. Scarcity • We infer value in something that has limited availability or is promoted as being scarce • Can apply to goods or time-based offers
  • 31. Offer applies this weekend only
  • 32. WARNING: Overuse can devalue this technique
  • 33. Social Proof People will do things that they see other people are doing
  • 34. Other people are doing it, so it must be legit
  • 35. Even people you know are doing it, so it must be GOOD
  • 36. Emotion The following summary describes some of the Emotion principles. Visceral processing. We immediately react to pleasing visual stimuli. Behavioural processing. We respond favourably to learned, expected behaviours. Aesthetic usability. Aesthetically pleasing designs are often perceived to be easier to use. Arousal. When aroused we are fully engaged and hence more likely to pay attention Social contagion. Our emotions are affected by the actions of those we see around us. Optimal level of challenge. We like to be challenged and tested, but not too much. Goal setting. We are compelled to strive to achieve a goal if it is achievable. Knowledge of results. We continue our actions if we are shown evidence of their success.
  • 37. Visceral processing We immediately react to pleasing visual stimuli
  • 38.
  • 39. Visceral processing • Add surprise, delight and playful elements to create an emotional bond with your audience • Find subtle ways to add illustrative imagery, interactions, visual cues and visual feedback • These can brighten up routine tasks and feel like rewards when discovered • Can reinforce Framing
  • 40. Behavioral processing We respond favourably to learned, expected behaviours
  • 41. Behavioral processing • If it works like something we already know, it feels easier and we like it more • Learning how to use something new shouldn’t be hard work • One of the useful side-effects of Facebook’s ubiquity • Facebook, Amazon and eBay have set expectations for complex interactions such as image uploading, rating, liking, commenting • Learned interactions you can re-use • Creates self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment • Increased adoption, usage rates & satisfaction due to familiarity
  • 42.
  • 43. Aesthetic usability Aesthetically pleasing designs are often perceived to be easier to use
  • 44. Aesthetic usability • Attractive things work better • Or at least we perceive them to be easier to use • Opinions based on visual stimuli happen very quickly • This “first impression” can shape your perceptions • The halo effect
  • 45.
  • 46.
  • 47. Optimal level of challenge We like to be challenged and tested, but not too much.
  • 48. Optimal level of challenge • Game design – starts simple but gets harder as you progress • A game can live or die by getting this difficulty curve correct • Can create sense of achievement by making that process a little trickier • Not appropriate for all cases!
  • 49.
  • 50. Trust Trust is influenced by a combination of factors which act as Trust Markers. Design quality. We perceive value in the things we see. Current content. Up-to-date content indicates freshness and responsiveness. Extensive quality content. We trust an authority that is plentiful with knowledgeable. Links. We judge other based on their recommendations and affiliations. Certifications. We trust established, certified organisations and trademarks. Testimonials. We trust organisations who trust and value their customers opinions Famous people and common people. I trust people like me, and celebrities I admire. Peer advice. We trust our peers more than we do official marketing bumf. Argue against self interest. We trust recommendations that are not in self interest. Technology. We always expect technology to work, trust is damaged if it does not.
  • 51. Certifications We trust established, certified organisations and trademarks
  • 52. Security messaging Accepted payment methods
  • 53. Technology We always expect technology to work, trust is damaged if it does not
  • 54.
  • 55. Case Study First TransPennine Express
  • 56. Overview of TPE as a client
  • 61. We’ve had some great results Year One Year Two Year Three 50% increase in return visits 135% increase in online sales Year Four Travel Website of the year 2009 (DADIs) 80% increase in online sales 103% increase in online ticket sales Doubled customer database to 150,000 45% increase in online sales
  • 62. Let’s see some PET techniques in action
  • 63. The basic advert. Usable but not inspiring
  • 64. Price - OPTIMUM LEVEL OF DISSONANCE and CONTRAST
  • 65. By-line – the wording draws the user in, creating engagement, DRIVE FULFILLMENT, FRAMING and FEEL GOOD. It also uses elements of OVERSTATING THE NEGATIVE IMPACT of not doing something
  • 66. Call to action - implies SCARCITY or LIMITED DURATION Design elements - CONTRAST and VISCERAL PROCESSING
  • 67. Official event logo – adds VISUAL APPEAL and CONTRAST, and serves as a TRUST MARKER
  • 68. Change the branded imagery – using people adds FRAMING (and elements of SOCIAL PROOF) and builds on VISCERAL PROCESSING Example of typical savings allows the brain to calculate the worth and value of the price
  • 69. Show the offer’s expiry date – compliments the call to action and the savings message to reinforce SCARCITY and LIMITED DURATION
  • 70. The original Our new PET-enhanced version
  • 71. The power of the Dark Side Image credit: Lucasfilm
  • 72. Evil by design… • There’s a difference between BAD UX and EVIL UX • Bad UX can be down to poor attention to detail, laziness, lack of understanding of the web • Evil UX (boo hiss!) is completely the opposite…
  • 73. Evil UX • It’s done by people who sit in chairs like this • No, honestly! • Evil UX is deliberately crafted with loving care • Utilises an understanding of human nature and psychology • Specifically designed to fool, trick or exploit users • Examples of this exist on the web, in software and even in the real world Image credit: Suck.uk.com
  • 74. The box around this content uses a technique called Uniform Connectedness And placing this optional extra in with compulsory passenger information is a technique called Proximity Travel insurance Note how the instructions for removing insurance are OPT OUT, convoluted and located AFTER the option
  • 75. Here’s the option to select no insurance - In between LATVIA and LITHUANIA
  • 76. Image credit: nytimes.com Facebook’s privacy statement
  • 77. OMG!! That would be a disaster… …IF either of these things happened… …and the standard password reminder service didn’t work. Skip this step
  • 78. The (Don’t) Contact Us page • Offering a feedback form but no other contact details • Means the user has no record of contacting you, giving you plausible deniability • They cannot chase you up any other way • There’s no context to subsequent correspondence • Every follow-up must be done through the feedback form & feels like yet another first approach
  • 79.
  • 80. Link to opt out is hidden behind a ‘more info’ link Image credit: darkpatterns.org
  • 81. Opt out Opt in Compulsory Image credit: darkpatterns.org
  • 82. Facilitates activities: Browse Search Consume Comprehend Interact In Summary Usability Can Do PET Will Do Encourages users to: Engage Connect Convert Return
  • 83. Further Reading • Human Factors International – pioneers of PET http://www.humanfactors.com/ • Mental Notes – Persuasion reference cards http://getmentalnotes.com/ • Changing Minds – Persuasion principles http://changingminds.org/principles/principles.htm • What makes them click? http://www.whatmakesthemclick.net • Dark Patterns – Examples of Evil UX in the wild http://wiki.darkpatterns.org/
  • 84.
  • 85. Thank you Any questions?