A question I’ve been thinking about more recently is, what makes health behavior change so special? And surprisingly enough for someone who’s spent over a decade focusing on health behavior change, I think the answer is: It’s not. The more I explore other behavior change challenges, the more I see that designing for health isn’t really different from other types of behavior change interventions. Continue reading What’s Different About Designing For Health?
The big thing on my mind right now is preparing for my presentation at SXSW next Saturday. My J&J colleague and pal Raphaela O’Day and I are going to be discussing “Moral Issues in Designing for Behavior Change,” and how we grapple with them as psychologists who design and create interventions to improve health and healthcare.
Continue reading Moral Issues in Designing for Behavior Change
As a frequent flyer, I know how easy it can be to get caught up in a loyalty program. You could blame it on the occasional first class upgrades, the free checked baggage, or the special elite hotline many airlines offer their most valued members . . . or you could chalk it up to a brilliant application of behavioral economics and psychology.
Whether you’re a company or a person, your brand is a powerful tool to let people know who you are at a glance. Well-done branding can communicate key information such as what you offer and what you value. Applying that branding consistently ensures that every time people encounter anything related to you or your company, they instantly make the connection. I was impressed by the excellent job a Boston food truck, the Bacon Truck, did on its branding. Continue reading Total Branding: The Bacon Truck
After I posted about seemingly obvious information not necessarily being obvious to the people we design for, someone reached out to me on Twitter to challenge my points. We went back and forth for a bit, disagreeing on whether to design for what he called “the lowest common denominator” of user, someone who is not knowledgeable or engaged. His concern (as I interpret it) was that in targeting that type of user, we reduce the utility of anything we build for the people who might be better equipped to use it. And so I found myself wondering, does making it easy mean designing for the lowest common denominator? Continue reading Does Making It Easy Mean Designing for the Lowest Common Denominator?
It’s easy to assume that some facts are self-evident when we create a product or experience. Even if logically we accept that nothing is obvious, it’s so easy to fall back on believing that some things are. Every now and then I encounter an example that shows me again how wrong that assumption can be. This time, it happened at brunch. Continue reading Case Study: Nothing Is Obvious
In The Wizard of Oz, the Great and Powerful Oz ended up being an illusion controlled by Professor Marvel, a skilled performer hidden behind a curtain. Similarly, many exceptional digital experiences come from the expertise and coordination of offline functions. This is especially true any time digital experiences provide an entryway to something non-digital, whether it’s retail (all things shopping), health care delivery (online pharmacies, remote medical consultation, and the like), or real-world magic (the Disney park experience). What does it take behind the curtain to make a great digital experience happen? Continue reading Behind the Screens: Aligning Operations And Digital Tools
Supporting people’s sense of autonomy is a key principle for designing engaging experiences. Designers can sometimes nudge users into taking specific actions by painting those actions as being consistent with the user’s values or goals. For example, insurance advertisements often focus on how the product can protect loved ones if the buyer dies unexpectedly; this plays on a common deeply-held value of looking out for the family’s best interests. A lighter hearted but poorly executed version of this has lately been endemic on my travels through the web: Email sign-up light boxes that accuse the user of some undesirable quality if they don’t enter an email address.
Here’s a total click-bait headline: The UX Secret That Will Ruin Apps For You. Even though I rather like apps and don’t want them ruined for me, of course I clicked, only to find a UX “secret” that is a familiar friend.
Here it is: Chances are, your app isn’t really loading when it tells you it is. Those delays when your app is searching for flights, logging into your accounts, or creating your feedback are deliberately added by designers to fool users into thinking the process takes longer than it does. Continue reading Why Your App Isn’t Really Loading (It’s Psychology)
Not 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