dConstruct 2008: Joshua Porter, Leveraging Cognitive Bias in Social Design
Web design is now about psychology; web designers need to learn about it to create decent experiences.
"Bandwagon effect": people often do and believe things because many other people do and believe things.
Heuristics: rules of thumb which prevent us from needing to gather all information required to make a judgement. Sometimes these don't work all that well - this is cognitive bias. e.g. "Not Invented Here", prediction biases which lead to underestimates of time to work.
Seminal paper on this is "Judgement under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases (1974)"
Talks about a few biases:
- Representation Bias.
- Loss Aversion.
- Ownership Bias.
These sometimes combine: in the sign-up problem, loss avertsion and ownership bias overvalue what they use by a factor of 3. Because of ownership and prediction biases, software manufacturers overvalue their products by about 3x - so there's a combined 9x dissonance between what they want to charge and what users want to pay.
Demonstrates Freshbooks, which emphasises number of users through a worldwide map showing them (encouraging bandwagon effect).
Q: isn't this evil?
A: It's more about business ethics.
(Sounds like a "guns don't kill people, people do" type argument).