Could better sites make people better?

An interesting perspective on whether bad UX contributes to ego depletion:


But even if we can justify consuming our user’s cognitive resources while they’re using our product, what about our marketing? Can we honestly believe that our “content marketing” is a good use of their resources? “Yes, because it adds value.” we tell ourselves. But what does that even mean? Can we honestly say that “engaging with our brand” is a healthy, ethical use of their scarce, precious, limited cognitive resources? “Yes, because our content is useful.”


And that’s all awesome and fabulous and social and 3.0ish except for one, small, inconvenient fact: zero sum. What you consume here, you take from there. Not just their attention, not just their time, but their ability to be the person they are when they are at their best. When they have ample cognitive resources. When they can think, solve-problems, and exercise self-control. When they can create, make connections, and stay focused.

Could simply making better websites make the world a better place, one more-satisfied user at a time?

via @lordmortis


Things to know about people

To get ready for an upcoming project, I’ve been reading up on user psychology. Thought you might fancy a couple (3) tidbits from my studying:

 People remember only four things at once.

 An urban legend from the 50’s suggests we can remember up to “seven, plus or minus two” items at a time. Since then, science has discovered that we actually only remember FOUR.

So what? – When presenting people with figures, options, stats – any kind of info – keep it down to four items.

People tell what to do with an object based on how it looks.

 Mug handles, squishy buttons, fingerholes in scissors – all of these things invite you to put your hands on them in a certain way, which naturally leads to appropriate ways to use objects. Think of how stupid it is to have a handle on a door that says ‘push’.

So what? – Make buttons look pushable, use shading or highlighting to show an object is selected or active, consider how your hover effects could be better represented on touchscreen devices.

People become addicted to seeking information.

 The dopamine and opioid systems in your brain work together to make you seek out pleasure, then feel satisfied when you get it. We also then learn how we can get more pleasure, so dopamine kicks in again to make us seek some more. When it comes to deriving pleasure from information, our brains find it increasingly harder to stop checking Twitter, Facebook, email, online shopping and research sites.

So what? – Make it easy for users to seek small bits of information, then reward them when they get it. This trains them to seek some more. This is how shitty games like Farmville become addictive.

That’s it for now. All of these tidbits came from my favourite schoolbook atm, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People.

Inattention blindness – or “not seeing wtf is going on”

‘Inattention blindness’ is the user’s inability to see wtf is going on right in front of them.

It’s not because users are stupid, it’s more we get distracted and lose the ability to sense change around us.

Take this test and see for yourself –

You may have seen it before – in which case, hold off on the responses so first-timers can count without bias. 😉