Nir’s Note: Susan Weinschenk is a behavioral scientist, author, and speaker at the upcoming Habit Summit in April. (You can register here!) In this interview, she chats with Max Ogles about some of the overlooked principles of behavioral design.
Q: You’re the author of the book, One Hundred Things Every Designer Should Know About People. What’s the one takeaway from the book readers get most excited about?
Susan Weinschenk: One thing that often surprises people is the important role of peripheral vision.
We’ve all been trained to pay attention to design in terms of what people are looking at, with the idea that the central part of the screen is the most important real estate. For many years, when I would teach in workshops, we would talk about primary real estate on the screen and how to use that. And that’s all in central vision. So I think that people haven’t understood, necessarily, how important our peripheral vision is.
Q: And what, specifically, is important to understand about peripheral vision?
SW: We take in information in our peripheral vision. We take it in mostly unconsciously; we react to emotional images or messages and danger in our peripheral vision and our peripheral vision is actually deciding where we should look next. And that’s all happening unconsciously and we just don’t realize it.
When product people realized that, they can go back and ask, “Wait a minute, what do we have on our screens in peripheral vision?” People often want to think about that and apply that right away because it’s pretty basic.
Q: In your consulting practice, you help companies conduct behavioral design audits. What are some of the most common deficiencies that you discover?
SW: Whenever you are designing something you want people to do a particular thing like press that button there, or sign-up, or make the purchase, or whatever you’re designing for. But there’s so much going on in a project. One of the things people miss is they lose sight of the “micro moment.”
I’ll say, “Okay guys, the person, they’re on this page, exactly what is it you want them to do here, and have you done everything you can to make sure that thing happens?” There’s a tendency that that micro moment gets lost.
Q: How do you find these”micro moments”?
SW: I point out to people what the micro moment idea is from their target user’s point of view. Just seeing it from the point of view of the user.
When you work on a project for a long time is you don’t see it the same way like someone else when they see it for the first time. You know where that information is located on the screen, you know what that item on the menu means. You know that in order to fill out the form you need to do this, this, this and this. It’s very easy to forget what it’s like to be new to it.
Q: At Habit Summit 2017, you’re conducting a workshop on “designing for action.” What are some of the basic principles of designing for action?
SW: First of all, you need to know and need to make sure you really understand your target audience—like who are they, what’s the context that they’re in, are they under stress, do they have a sick child next to them crying and they’re trying to find a doctor? I mean what’s the situation in which they’re using this thing? You need to know what is likely to motivate them in this situation.
Q: Okay so first, understand the target audience—then what?
SW: We teach some of the major drivers in behavior. So which of those are most operative here at this moment in time, with this user, in this context, what’s gonna be the thing that propels them to take action? Is it because there is something instinctual like fear or danger? Is it because they have the desire to belong to a part of a group, so is it a social motivator? Is it something to do with a reward, to know what is going to work for that part of the audience in that situation?
Then be really clear about what exactly is the action you want them to take, back to the idea of a micro moment. There are a number of different strategies to apply from the workshops that we teach. It’s actually pretty scientific and linear. To me it’s not art, it’s definitely science.
Top Consumer Psychology Articles
- The One Fitness App That Hooked Me For Good
- Here’s How Fortnite ‘Hooked’ Millions
- How Apps Can Shape Your Future Self
- How Netflix’s Customer Obsession Created a Customer Obsession
- Want to Design User Behavior? Pass the ‘Regret Test’ First
- How to Trigger Product Usage that Sticks
- How to Get People to Help Each Other, Online and Off
- Here’s How Amazon’s Alexa Hooks You
- How to Use Psychology to Make Persuasive Video
- How to Use Personality Science to Drive Online Conversions
- The Unbelievable Future of Habit-Forming Technology
- The Secret Marketing Power of Evolutionary Psychology
- Don’t Ask People What They Want, Watch What They Do
- How Cognitive Biases Can Help (and Hurt) Your Business
- What Most People Don’t Know About Behavioral Design
- How to Start a Career in Behavioral Design
- Your World is Full of Placebo Buttons (and That’s a Good Thing)
- How to Build Technology that Feels Like a Friend
- 3 Pillars of the Most Successful Tech Products
- Here’s How to Ethically Manipulate Other People
- How Two Companies Hooked Customers On Products They Rarely Use
- How to Hook Users in 3 Steps: An Intro to Habit Testing
- Die Dashboards, Die! Why Conversations Will Reinvent Software
- The Secret to Sending Emails and Notifications That Work
- How to Win Your Competition’s Customers
- Hooked for Good: How Habit-Forming Products Improve Lives
- Good Products Start With Good Questions
- Human + A.I. = Your Digital Future
- Why ‘Assistant-As-App’ Might Be the Next Big Tech Trend
- People Don’t Want Something Truly New, They Want the Familiar Done Differently.
- 4 Ways to Win Your Competitor’s Customer Habits (Slides)
- Here’s Why You’ll Hate the Apple Watch (and the Important Business Lesson You Need to Know)
- The Secret Psychology of Snapchat
- The Psychology of Notifications: How to Send Triggers that Work
- How Technology Tricks You Into Tipping More
- The Limits of Loyalty: When Habits Change, You’re Toast
- 4 Ways to Use Psychology to Win Your Competition’s Customers
- The Real Reason “Stupid” Startups Raise So Much Money
- The Psychology Behind Why We Can’t Stop Messaging
- The Psychology of a Billion-Dollar Enterprise App: Why is Slack so Habit-Forming?
- Framing Reward is as Important as Reward Itself
- A Free Course on User Behavior
- It’s Not All Fun And Games: The Pros and Cons of Gamification at Work
- Getting Traction: How to Hook New Users
- Designing for Behavior Change Book Review
- The Sneaky Trick Behind the Explosive Growth of the Kardashian Game
- How Successful Companies Design for Users’ Multi-Device Lives
- The Link Between Habits and User Satisfaction
- What Triggers The Best Word of Mouth Marketing?
- What Tech Companies Can Learn from Rehab
- The Secrets of Addictive Online Auctions
- Teach or Hook? What’s the Real Goal of Online Education?
- Using Mind Control to Raise Startup Cash
- How To Build Habits In A Multi-Device World
- How To Cope with Your Insane Jealousy Of The WhatsApp Deal
- Why Do Fads Fade? The Inevitable Death Of Flappy Bird
- You’d Be Surprised By What Really Motivates Users
- Nostalgia: A Product Designer’s Secret Weapon
- How You Can Help Users Change Habits
- Is “Lean Startup” Right for Your Idea?
- Hunting for Habits: Keying in on smart design to make a product irresistible
- Are Companies Too Obsessed With Growth? How to Measure Habits
- Refresh: The App a Secret Agent Would Love
- Angel or Devil: Who’s Really Investing In Your Start-Up?
- In 10 Years, We Won’t Use Personal Technology
- 4 Simple Things I Did to Control My Bad Tech Habits
- “Yes, And”: The Two Words that Created a #1 App
- From Laid to Paid: How Tinder Set Fire to Online Dating
- What if In-App Purchases Came to Real Life?
- Hooking Users One Snapchat at a Time
- How To Save Your Startup From The “Spotlight Effect”
- Bible App: Getting 100 Million Downloads is More Psychology Than Miracles
- How to Boost Desire Using the Psychology of Scarcity
- Marketplaces & The Curse of the Network Effect
- Today’s Behaviors, Tomorrow’s Startups
- Venture Capital and The Superstitious Investor
- The Future is Driven by Interface Changes
- Why Business is Addicted to Habits
- Viral Loops Or Viral ‘Oops’?
- Making a Marketplace
- What Killed Turntable.fm?
- What You Don’t Know About Human Intuition Can Hurt You
- Designing to Reward our Tribal Sides
- New Video – “Hooked: Building Habit-Forming Products”
- How Technology is Like Bug Sex
- Ways To Get People To Do Things They Don’t Want To Do
- The Network Effect Isn’t Good Enough
- Mass Persuasion, One User At A Time
- How Investment Drives Engagement (Slides)
- Getting Your Product Into the Habit Zone
- Where Have The Users Gone?
- Infinite Scroll: The Web’s Slot Machine
- Designing User Habits Video
- Psychology of Sports: How Sports Infect Your Brain
- This is Your Brain On Boarding: How to Turn Visitors Into Users
- User Investment: Make Your Users Do the Work
- Behavior by Design Video
- When Designing for Good Is Bad
- Stop Building Apps, Start Building User Behaviors
- The Next Secrets of the Internet
- User Growth and Engagement: A Hacker Metric
- Spotting the Next Facebook: Why Emotions are Big Business
- The Billion Dollar Mind Trick: An Intro to Triggers
- Why Everyone Hates I.T. People
- Hooking Users In 3 Steps: An Intro to Habit Testing
- Abolish The Reference Check
- Variable Rewards: Want To Hook Users? Drive Them Crazy
- How to Design Behavior (The Behavior Change Matrix)
- How To Design For “Normals”
- Hooks: An Intro on How to Manufacture Desire
- User Habits: Why Startups Must Be Behavior Experts
- What Is, and Is Not, Your Product’s Job
- Pinterest’s Obvious Secret
- Personalized eCommerce Is Already Here, You Just Don’t Recognize It
- Where is the Web Going?
- The Developer Divide: When Great Companies Can’t Hire
- Being a Quitter Makes You a Good Entrepreneur
- Behavior by Design
- Why You Should Run Your Business Barefoot
- Are you a Startup Star, Wacko, or Wannabe?