Some Stuff About User Experience, eCommerce, Social Media & etc.

Tag Archives: psychology

Using Scientific Knowledge to Bring Structure to Design Problems

Experience design, especially interface design, is perhaps one of the most fertile fields for the idea of scientific design. This is due to several reasons, including:

  • the multidisciplinary nature of interface design teams, which include people with different backgrounds
  • the inherent complexity of software as a product
  • the large number of scientific journals and papers that makes human–computer interaction (HCI) one of the most prolific areas of design research

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The Psychology of Faceted Navigation

When we use Google to explore the web, we’re happy to accept the fact that we’re venturing through a wild, open and sprawling information space. There’s always the possibility there’s a haystack out there we haven’t discovered yet, and in it, there might be some great needles that we want to find out about. Sometimes that’s part of the fun.

Our expectations are very different when we search an individual website. For example, when we carry out a search on a classifieds or e-commerce site, we expect it to be able to show us every single item it has that matches our criteria. To use an analogy, imagine if you went into camera shop on the high street and asked to see all of their digital SLRs. Imagine if the sales assistant responded by showing you a few cameras, but then admitted that there might be more items in the back room, possibly better deals, and that you’d need to try re-articulating your requirements in various different ways to find out. A crazy idea. You’d think they were incompetent and walk out.

A shop assistant should know what stock they have, and they should be able to match it against your requirements. The same goes for websites.

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Are We Killing Our Customers With Engagement?

By Neicole Crepeau, Contributing {grow} Columnist

Facebook is seeing a decline in use. Studies show that users are un-Liking business pages. Consumers are getting savvy and more jaded about businesses use of social media—and they’re responding negatively. The thing is, it’s our own fault.

Social media consultants and bloggers have long urged companies to create Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and start a conversation with their customers. So, lots of companies have done just that. The problem is, most customers don’t want a conversation with a company or its representatives.

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FREE! But at What Price?

Free Cheese

We like ‘free’ because it makes us feel good and there’s no downside. But sometimes ‘free’ tricks us into poor decisions.

There is one magical price that we don’t evaluate in the same way as other prices. Unlike the others, this number is guaranteed to make us go mad with desire. It makes us do strange things, it messes with our minds. That price is….FREE!

Imagine you are in the market for an Amazon gift certificate. Consider which of these two offers you would go for (try to do it quickly):

  • A $10 gift certificate for FREE!
  • A $20 gift certificate costing $7.

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Twitter: 10 Psychological Insights

There are now 190 million Twitter users around the world producing 65 million tweets each day. 19% of US internet users now say they use Twitter or a similar service to share updates about themselves—double the figure from the previous year (Pew, 2009).

So who tweets? Why? What are they talking about? And what is so engaging about all those little textual transmissions?

Since Twitter didn’t exist until 2006, psychologists have had little chance to explore it, but some of the early research suggests a social network unlike those that came before. Here are 10 of my favourite insights from this research, some less obvious than others.

Before we get onto the research, though, here’s a quick intro for Twitter newbies:

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Understanding The Human Part Of The User Experience

In 1997, a computer called Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Headlines triumphed about the victory of machine over man,  as we humans were “conquered”, “vanquished” and, as a result of our defeat, “stunned.”

Checkmate… Finally!

Kasparov and Deep Blue

The real question isn’t why we finally were defeated by a chess playing computer, but why it took so long. Chess is a game that computers should excel at.

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Are your users S.T.U.P.I.D? How Good Design Can Make Users Effective

It is an honest question: how smart are your users? The answer may surprise you: it doesn’t matter. They can be geniuses or morons, but if you don’t engage their intelligence, you can’t depend on their brain power.

Far more important than their IQ (which is a questionable measure in any case) is their Effective Intelligence: the fraction of their intelligence they can (or are motivated to) apply to a task.

Take, for example, a good driver. They are a worse driver when texting or when drunk. (We don’t want to think about the drunk driver who is texting.) An extreme example you say? Perhaps, but only by degree. A person who wins a game of Scrabble one evening may be late for work because they forgot to set their alarm clock. How could the same person make such a dumb mistake? Call it concentration, or focus, we use more of our brain when engaged and need support when we are distracted.

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The User Experience And Psychology Of Colour

There is a lot of psychology in colour, and while I don’t claim to be an expert, every now and then I come across something that seems to be rather counterintuitive.

I suppose there are some cultural influences on colour as well, and people need to take these sorts of things into account when designing sites, but there also seem to be some ideas that cross over cultural lines.

Today I want to take a quick look at the colours that I would assume we’d all connect with a certain response – say the colour of success, the colour of failure, and what colours you expect to see in form fields when you are doing things right or wrong. What colours come to mind when you think of a ‘Success‘ message? What colours come to mind when you think of doing something wrong?

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