Avoid Confusing UX: Today’s Unsubscriber, Tomorrow’s Buyer

Confusing UXNot every product is right for every person. Or, sometimes, a product is right for someone but it isn’t the right time. In those cases, good design helps keep the door open for people to rediscover the product when the timing improves. That usually means making any goodbyes as painless as possible. Recently I got a vacation rental email from HomeAway (for reasons unknown, as I don’t believe I’ve ever rented through them). In general I try not to subscribe to many marketing lists unless it’s a product I buy very frequently, so I clicked to take my name off this one. I was brought to the screen below:  Continue reading Avoid Confusing UX: Today’s Unsubscriber, Tomorrow’s Buyer

How Stories Are Special: Psychological and Neurological Rationales for Stories as Data

How Stories Are SpecialStories are one of the oldest and most common ways of communicating with other people. If you look at some of the most ancient knowledge still available to modern humans, it comes in the form of stories: Myths, legends, fairy tales, and religious texts. In modern times, we see more complex forms of schooling moving toward case-based methods of learning, as in many medical schools, business schools, and law schools. Why, out of all of the tools in the human communication toolkit, do stories have such longevity and power? Continue reading How Stories Are Special: Psychological and Neurological Rationales for Stories as Data

Plane Water and the Honesty Box: An Unexpected Airport Kindness

Plane Water and the Honesty BoxIn my years of frequent travel, I’ve learned that nothing comes cheap in an airport. A bottle of water that normally costs $1 in a supermarket or convenience store suddenly sells for $4. Which is why I was did a double take when I saw this water display in the Dublin airport: Continue reading Plane Water and the Honesty Box: An Unexpected Airport Kindness

Organizational Dynamics: Balancing Individual Achievement with Team Success

amybucherphd.comWhether you work in a formal corporate environment or a laid-back creative one, most of us experience some degree of tension between individual and group success. As we work, we want our teams and companies to do well and look good. Yet, when it’s time for recognition, we also want people to notice our own accomplishments. Striking the wrong balance between individual and group success can lead to several sub-optimal motivational outcomes. Specifically, people may not engage and turn in their best work if they feel like their contributions are either undervalued or under-recognized.  Continue reading Organizational Dynamics: Balancing Individual Achievement with Team Success

Retail Reframing: Adjusting Future Timeframes to Boost Sales

Retail ReframingI visited Ireland for the first time a few weeks ago and was utterly charmed by it. Not only is the country geographically lovely and jam-packed with delightful restaurants, pubs, and shops, but I appreciated what I’d call the Irish attitude. In general, the people were outgoing, interested in conversation, and above all, approached topics with a sense of humor. (And yes, I know this is a blanket stereotype and I am sure there are surly Irish introverts out there, but the people I met weren’t those.) Continue reading Retail Reframing: Adjusting Future Timeframes to Boost Sales

The Diminishing Returns of Education for Health Behavior Change

TheWant someone to quit tobacco? Chances are your persuasive tactics to get them to stop smoking will include some cold hard facts about the damage that cigarettes can cause to your lungs and heart. Maybe you’ll use some photos that show the aging effects of smoking on skin and teeth. Or perhaps you can share statistics around the rates of disease for people who smoke compared to people who don’t. These approaches may make intuitive sense, but they rarely work to get someone to quit smoking. Knowledge alone doesn’t change behavior. Continue reading The Diminishing Returns of Education for Health Behavior Change

Yes, Be Yourself: In Defense of Authenticity

Yes, Be Yourself!Over the weekend I saw a NY Times op ed article pop up in my RSS feed (yes, I maintain an RSS feed) that rebuts the idea of being yourself as a path to success. I’ve gone on record a few times advocating for authenticity as a way of life. I believe–and research supports–that being true to oneself is a way to feel happier and perform better. So why the sudden pushback from this particular author? Continue reading Yes, Be Yourself: In Defense of Authenticity

How A Revolutionary War Hero Used Modern Psychology

How ASometimes I think the formal study of behavior science is really about putting names and a framework around concepts we already intuitively understand. After all, we are all human beings experiencing attitudes, behaviors, and cognitions every single day. That doesn’t mean we know how to talk about it or fully understand the nuances that determine when something is more or less likely to happen, but your average person does have more of a sense for psychology than for, say, nuclear physics. Continue reading How A Revolutionary War Hero Used Modern Psychology

Why Do Scientist Badges Work?

Why Do Scientist Badges WorkIf you’ve ever seen me do any version of a talk on motivational design, you know I’m skeptical about the utility of badges for engagement. It’s not that badges are a bad tool. It’s that they get misused. Programs may award a badge for the wrong behavior. Or the badge may encourage cheating and shortcuts to get the reward. Or, while a virtual badge rarely carries any real value, it might be too much reward for the behavior, eventually leading to lower engagement levels. So, I was surprised to see that an effort to award scientists digital badges displayed alongside their publications in search results was gathering momentum. Continue reading Why Do Scientist Badges Work?

Designing from the User Standpoint (Literally)

Designing from the User Standpoint (Literally)Last weekend, we decided to go for a hike at the nearby Blue Hills Reservation to celebrate the arrival of lovely spring weather. We arrived to find plenty of free parking, a visitor center with clean restrooms, and clearly displayed instructions for hiking trails with varying difficulty levels and lengths. It all seemed great, until we tried to follow the directions to the head of our chosen trail: Continue reading Designing from the User Standpoint (Literally)

Psychology for Health and Happiness