Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Beyond Usability: Designing Web Sites for Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust

On persuasive design ...

"The next wave in Web site design is persuasive design, designing for persuasion, emotion, and trust. While usability is still a fundamental requirement for effective Web site design, it is no longer enough to design sites that are simply easy to navigate and understand so users can complete transactions. As business mandates for Web site design have grown more strategic, complex, and demanding of accountability, good usability has become the price of competitive entry. So, while usability is important, it is no longer the key differentiator it once was.

The future of great Web design is about creating customer engagement and commitment in a way that clearly impacts business results and measurable goals. Whether a Web site is e-commerce, informational, or transactional, it must motivate people to make decisions online that lead to conversion of one sort or another.

The interactive online environment offers far more opportunities to influence customers’ decision-making than traditional advertising or marketing channels do. By leveraging the science of persuasion in new and insightful ways and designing specifically to optimize the elements of persuasion, emotion, and trust, we can systematically influence customers’ online behavior.

Our approach to persuasive design at HFI—called PET design™, which stands for Persuasion, Emotion and Trust—has its basis in a deep understanding of customers’ subtle emotional triggers and employs a rigorous set of new, research-based methods and techniques. This article presents a strategic overview of HFI’s take on persuasive design, or PET design.

Persuasive Design

To be clear, persuasive design is not entirely new. It builds on the work of many researchers and innovators over many years. Systematic and scientific methods of persuasion have been in use since 1920, when Dr. John Watson applied conditioning methods to sales of Pond’s Cold Cream and other products. Continuing that innovative tradition, HFI’s approach, methodology, and insights are advancing the dialogue about and practice of persuasive design and demonstrating that online persuasion’s time has come.

User engagement rather than classic usability is what sets effective Web design apart today. While great usability is a baseline requirement, there is far more involved in engaging customers on a Web site than simply making sure they can find specific content and perform particular transactions. Today’s mandate is to move beyond traditional usability. Instead of designing only for what visitors can do on a site, superior Web design is now responsible for determining what customers will do—whether it’s to

* buy a product or service
* ask their doctor about a new drug
* decide to vote for an issue or a candidate
* donate to a particular cause or philanthropy

With its foundation in usability best practices and psychology, PET design is the result of HFI’s extensive research, pilot programs, and client engagements with Fortune 500 companies. It is based on a new model that employs a holistic view of user experience design in which persuasion objectives lead to business success."    (Continued via UXmatters, Eric Schaffer)    [Usability Resources]

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