I believe that you should read this book yourselves to fully appreciate all the information and insight the writer has to share. I will cover only the first half of the book. I will be pasting some excerpts, because there are many things that the writer describes a lot better than I could ever do. I will also be skipping a lot of the content for sake of brevity and of course because you should learn the rest from the book directly, not from me.
So think of this article as a review, preview, or just a simple article written by someone who is so excited about a book she read that she just needs to share some of what she learned with you.
Writer, designer, and speaker Stephen Anderson shows you in this book how the same tactics humans use to attract a mate can apply to the interactions between humans and interactive devices, to make people “fall in love” with your websites and/or applications.
The book focuses on human behavior, in both physical and digital contexts, and talks about what actually drives people and influences their behavior and “seduces” them into taking certain kinds of actions. It also studies a lot of examples of existing web applications, and explores the underlying psychological principles applied to the user experience of these applications, that make them as effective and successful as they are.
One of the first examples mentioned in the book is LinkedIn and the effectiveness of the Profile Completeness process, specifically how LinkedIn manages to pull quite a bit of information out of millions of users through a series of prompts that are simple enough and yet very effective. By understanding what motivates people, they were able to get a lot of information out of them. And this is what the book is concerned with: why people do the things they do.
The concept of level completeness used in LinkedIn can also be found in games as a “progress dynamic”, with points and levels. It can also be found in other contexts, one of which is martial arts, where each “level” is represented by a colored belt, one you earn while advancing towards the black belt. By having different colored belts [..] you get rewarded and recognized along the path to mastery. These belts are a tangible, achievable goal to work toward.But why do we do the things we do when we have this kind of progress dynamic?
We could look at several ideas from psychology:
Sequencing: We are more likely to take action when complex tasks are broken down into smaller tasks.
Appropriate challenges: We delight in challenges, especially ones that strike a balance between being overwhelming and being boring.
Status: We constantly assess how interactions enhance or diminish our standing relative to others and our personal best.
Achievements: We are more likely to engage in activities in which meaningful achievements are recognized.
So always offer your users some kind of reward after every step they make throughout a sign up form, or any other kind of forms that require several steps along the way to completeness, like surveys, for example, and be clear about why you’re asking for the information you ask for, and help them understand that whatever information you ask from them will actually benefit them, even if you have other reasons you’re asking them for this information. State your reasons in terms of how they would benefit the user to provide this information to you, because we’ve known that we are more interested in people who are interested in us. no one wants to sit and hear someone talk about themselves all night. The same is true in many online interactions.
The writer then goes on to mention another example of great UX, which benefits both the user and the owners of the application, which is iTunes. He explains the process of signing up for iTunes in detail, and reveals the psychological part of the process, that makes users want to continue the process:
Feedback loops: We’re engaged by situations in which we see our actions modify subsequent results.
Curiosity: When teased with a small bit of interesting information, people want to know more.
Visual imagery: Vision trumps all other senses and is the most direct way to perception.
Recognition over recall: It’s easier to recognize things we have previously experienced than it is to recall them from memory.
This kind of perspective offers you a new way to look at user experiences. For example, one example of UX that is different and very attractive and more enjoyable, in my opinion, is the new form and survey experience that Typeform offers, because it uses several concepts including sequencing and visual imagery, and they use images for a lot of their questions and offer multiple choices which are easier to use than having to recall stuff from memory. All these elements make filling up forms and taking surveys easier and more enjoyable, or at the very least, a lot less boring.
Usability and Psychology
A simple and straightforward differentiation between the roles of usability and psychology in user experience design is the following:
Usability clears the way for a good experience by eliminating troublesome interface distractions, but a great experience stems from something more—an awareness of why people could or do care. The danger is in confusing “ease of use” with actually desiring to use something. These are two entirely different things. Both are essential, but simply making something more usable won’t guarantee any more clicks or conversions. in this case, it was psychology that made this so engaging.
Here is an image showing the difference in roles between usability and psychology in user experience design: