Content Is Core

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Life’s gotten really busy lately (in a good way) and it doesn’t leave a lot of time or mental energy for writing non-work stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be presenting at UXPA Boston on how to bring behavioral economics into health interventions, so if you’re there come say hello. If you’re not there and you’re interested in the topic, we’ll be reprising a version of the talk the following week as a free Mad*Pow webinar.

One of the points I’m going to make in the talk is that having good content is absolutely critical to making behavior change successful. The right words make all the difference.  It’s certainly true in health interventions, but also true in commercial applications. Take this screen from my seat-back tv on a recent American Airlines flight:

Sorry for the crappy photo quality–not much I could do about the glare.

I clicked on it because I remembered long ago flights that had instant messaging built into the tvs so you could communicate with other passengers (“Tell 24F to close the shade.”). Given the label “communicate” and the icon of a talking person, I expected some kind of chat. What I got instead was:

Most certainly not a chat

As you might be able to guess, I did not complete the survey for American Airlines. In this case, there was no real import to the experience so I wasn’t left feeling angry or upset, but I thought it was a good example of how poorly selected labels and icons can take a user down an unproductive path.

A good content developer would have stopped this in its tracks.