What’s your personality type?

personality type myers-briggs

Perception experiment: Can you see the man turn his head?

psychology visual perception trick

Take this 1 minute psych test

Science of Persuasion

How to make dogs drive cars and users click buttons

My latest post on Keepitusable about behaviour is now live and it’s a good one!

I explain the importance of understanding, researching, analysing and changing behaviour. Using BJ Fogg’s behaviour model I look at what contributes to a desired behaviour occurring or failing and how we can turn a user into a buyer through analysing the psychological buying process pyramid.

Here’s an extract from the article:

“Who would have thought that dogs could be taught to drive cars or that double the amount of users would click a button just through a simple design tweak.

Behaviour is fascinating. Not only can we research, analyse and understand behaviour, it is possible to then actively and deliberately change it. It isn’t easy or quick but if you get it right the results can be incredible. But human behaviour has deep, complex motivations and meanings which is why it’s vitally important to have at least one person involved in your project who has a solid background in psychology.

A good starting point for understanding behaviour is the work of BJ Fogg. His behaviour model states that three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur: MotivationAbility, and Trigger. When a behaviour does not occur, it means that at least one of these key elements is missing….”


Read the full article >>>

Using kittens to explain the power of Scarcity

(True story)

There are 4 kittens in a pet shop…

3 tabby kittens

and 1 black and white kitten

black and white kitten

Fact: Tabby kittens are adopted much more quickly than black and white kittens.

So, which kitten do you think will sell first?

Answer: The black and white one


The principle of Scarcity

What is the principle of Scarcity?

When something is scarce or rare, people see it as more highly valued and more desirable. This is why shops often have sales and why antiques have such a high value. Scarcity is closely related to the fear of loss – people fear losing what they have and also what they don’t yet have. They will act in sometimes non-sensical ways to avoid this loss (shopaholics and hoarders are good examples).

How do I know the black and white kitten really will be sold first?

Because these kittens have been advertised on the residents board where I live and everyone wants the black and white one.

How to sell more by using scarcity in your website design

  • Limited numbers of a product left? Make this information clear in the interface.
  • Show an end date or time for an offer.
  • Offer something free with the product but limit it’s availability.
Scarcity is a very well know persuader and influencer of behaviour. Once you’re aware of it, you’ll start to see how it is used everywhere so it’s well worth thinking of how you can utilise its power in your designs. 

Amazon use 2 scarcity elements on their product page
amazon scarcity example

Asos use ‘fear of loss’ to persuade within their basket page

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work

The paradox of choice

The video below is of Barry Schwartz talking about the paradox of choice. It’s something that faces us all everyday. Choosing what to buy is not as easy as it used to be. Simply popping to the corner shop to buy bread takes longer due to the enormous array of different types of bread available. Online shopping takes us a lot longer due to the amount of incredibly similar products and the fear that we may make the wrong choice. For the average person, this fear leads to many hours of researching and reading reviews so they hopefully make the correct choice.

Too many choices leads to Paralysis

If you ask them, people will tell you that they like choices. Choices equal freedom. However, as Barry notes in the video, it has been proven that offering more choices actually makes choosing more difficult and ultimately to not choosing at all. More choices actually puts more stress on the person making the choice as they have to weigh up all the pros and cons of each. Eventually they either put it off until another day or they give up altogether. The solution is to offer the consumer less choice. You can also guide them into making the correct choice (or the choice you really want them to make!) via persuasive design.

Making choice easier with persuasive design

Persuasive design

Through intelligent design, we can lessen the negative effects of the paradox of choice. Basecamp’s pricing page has been designed to entice the user to the Premium plan. The benefit of this design is the user feels they have choices (yet not too many) and control yet the decision making is less taxing as it has already been done for them.

I just want coffee flavoured coffee!

The comedian Denis Leary performed a hilarious rant on his Lock n Load tour about how difficult it is to now buy coffee flavoured coffee. It certainly highlights why keeping choices to a minimum is a good thing and less stressful for consumers.

Psychology exercise: Which 4 words do you see first?

A bit of Friday fun! Glance over the word image below and write down the first four words that you find. Ok? These are supposed to describe you. I’m not sure how accurate this is as I can’t find the original source online, but it’s fun to do.

My four words are: time, lovely, wrestles and spoken (not quite sure about wrestles!)

psychology word exercise

Move Over Maslow! The Users’ Hierarchy of Needs

Back in 1943 a psychologist called Maslow published what he termed a ‘hierarchy of needs‘ that can be applied to every human being. At the bottom level are physiological needs that every human needs to exist, like shelter, food and water. At the very top are factors that contribute to a feeling of self-actualization, like morality and creativity. You can read more here. The triangle shape is deliberate, in that there are a much greater number of people at the physiological level and only a small number who reach self-actualization.

We can apply Maslow’s concept to the user and their experience of any product or service. Starting from a base of does the product or service perform at a basic functional level to the ideal of the user being so engaged that they lose all track of time and enter a state of flow

Take a look at the Users’ Hierarchy of Needs below and think about where your product or service fits. What actions are you taking to step up to the next level and improve your users’ experience?

users hierarchy of needs


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