If you understand human behavior, and how to persuade people effectively, you can change people’s perceptions and spark actions, ultimately turning those actions into habits.
Think about that from a user experience perspective. If you understand how the human mind works, and you’re adept at the power of persuasion, the world – or at least your user base – is your oyster.
For example, if you can’t change the actual experience, you can change the perception of the experience. So says Adam Harrell, founder of Nebo Agency in Atlanta and speaker at WebVisions Chicago.
The importance of perception
In a recent blog post, Adam points out that sometimes it’s nearly impossible to improve on a product, “but the user experience can always be improved. Experiential design means changing the perception around a product rather than approaching improvement from an engineering standpoint.”
This statement has profound implications. Due to budget constraints or otherwise, it’s sometimes not viable to create the next version of, say, a website or a mobile app. And that can lead to stagnation, eventually leading your user base to abandon ship.
But, if you know what you’re doing (and, of course, you have a viable product to begin with) there are ways you can inexpensively improve the user experience without completely revamping the product, and the return on that investment can mean your users will stick around long enough to see that next version.
Fun with behavior change theory
Here’s another example that Adam mentions in his post. How many times have you had to jump through hoops on a website for just a small reward? You visit a site and they offer up a whitepaper you’re vaguely interested in, but to get that whitepaper emailed to you, you need to fill out a mile-long form and promise to accept 14 marketing emails a day. Not gonna happen.
Offer motivation that is matched well to the difficulty of the task, Adam says, and “make it worth their while to interact with your site and content.” Don’t put up a wall and expect users to break through it for a piece of candy.
In his article, Adam gives a shout out to Dr. BJ Fogg (a past WebVisions keynote speaker) and his Behavior Model that identifies the three elements of change: motivation, ability and triggers.
In the chart above, Fogg’s model shows that triggers that result in an action are more likely when there is a balance between motivation and ability…i.e. the harder it is to complete an action, the higher the motivation must be.
Come see Adam’s session on Changing Behavior by Design in Chicago. He might just change your mind about the power of user experience design.
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