UX Week: Seductive Interaction Design Workshop

Day 2 and 3 were workshops, and it was situated nicely between the two days of talks, although unlike other conferences, other non-locals might not be able to attend just the talks, precisely because they were split up.

Seductive Interaction Design: Are you using what you know about human behaviours in your design?

The first workshop, led by Stephen P. Anderson, of the book by the same name: Seductive Interaction Design, and  the mental notes pack, was a good complement to Human Factor International’s course PET (Persuasian, Emotion, Trust). I had hesitated to take this workshop at first, despite the interest in the topic, precisely because I thought it would be redudant.

This workshop was popular, as it filled up pretty quickly, even after it re-opened for more attendees, and his book sold out before the end of the conference.

It was a good refresher anyway. I’ve known about the techniques to get consumers to buy from the PET course (such as “5 seats left” on airline sites, although I found out that some companys break that “trust”, because I bought 5 tickets from them, and it showed “5 seats left” for the same price again even after my transaction), but one thing I took away from this workshop, was that we can make otherwise ordinary things (or rather painful but unavoidable things, like walking up the stairs or completing a registration form) into something more delightful to engage in: making it fun, or delighting.

Anderson started the workshop (and the book) with a video that was circulated awhile back by a VW initiative where they took some everyday activities/ideas and tried to make it fun – like throwing out the trash, or using the stairs or the elevator:

In terms of websites, one could be fine in terms of usability, with no obvious problems, but how can it be improved to solve a high bounce rate or low adoption? The answer was around about removing the friction (ie. good usability) PLUS increasing the motivation (psychology; human behaviour) of engagement.

In terms of initial engagement, one needs to stand out from competition.  Which, actually tied in nicely with Todd Walthhall’s comment the day prior that [good] experience design is our competitive advantage.

The business goals (outcome) should align with user goals (what people do), but Anderson stressed that knowing how humans behave or what motivates one, should not be used in manipulation coercion. We need to think about what poeple need to do in order for your business (goal) to be successful. His advice? Start with functionality, then build out the fun.

Sure, one could look to gaming techniques, but instead of motiviating human behaviour through game mechanics (a concept known as gamification), motivate through psychology. The first often focus on extrinsic rewards are often short-lived, but the latter focuses on instrinsic motiviation.

So what motivates human behaviour? He shared some design ideas on how to do this, such as:

  • Recognition with one’s own name, human faces
  • The desire to complete an incomplete set
  • Desire for self-expression: customizing, creating own profile, self goals and association with self
From UX Week 2011

But many of the points and examples in the workshop are covered in the book, so if you missed the workshop, you can buy it online (amazon.com and bookdepository.com for cheaper)

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