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Design for the Mind: measure the effectiveness?

 
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Hi Victor,

Your book seems fascinating, and whilst I've always had an interest in UI design, psychology is an aspect that for some reason that I've never considered before.

My questions for you are:

- How can I measure the effectiveness of applying the techniques described in your book? Do you cover this at all?
- In working for a non-software centric organisation, do you have any advice on how I can get others outside of the development team interested in these approaches to design?

Many thanks,
Chris.
 
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Hey Chris,

Thanks for the questions.

I do cover ways to measure the effectiveness of using the techniques. I provide insight into that in Chapter 10 of Design for the Mind. I know it is critical to show value for using or changing certain techniques. Some examples include measuring return on investment - there is a formula for this - which should show an increase in ROI based on the time you save with reduced user error and redesign, as well as increased completion of your workflows. I also recommend using the System Usability Scale SUS to test over time how usable and learnable people think your product is. The SUS was created in 1986 by John Brooke and has been widely used since then.

Readers will also learn that much of what they are already doing that is successful is in-line with principles of psychology. Having an understanding of the underlying principles will allow you to speak to others about why your design is effective, or help identify areas that might benefit from improvement. In that sense, I’d say the effectiveness would also be measured through a better understanding by the designer and members of the team about why a design is or is not effective.

I also discuss making the case or getting buy-in for this design approach throughout the book. I provide example statements and language to use to discuss each principle with others who are laypeople in terms of familiarity with psychology. I don’t expect anyone to need a background in psychology to come away with design insights after reading the book. I hope that the examples I’ve used and the diagrams I provide allow for the principles to be accessible to most people. Of course, money is always a way to motivate buy-in. If you can show how the approach saves money or time in terms of getting the design right the first time, that would be very beneficial. I tend to spend a decent part of my day job trying to convince people research and psychology are important, so I understand where you are coming from! I hope my book can give you and others like you more ammunition for your case.

Victor
 
Christian Peacock
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Thanks Victor!

I'm really intrigued by your book, it seems like something that I could read cover to cover and thoroughly enjoy - something that I no longer find with most technical books.

To be honest, in my organisation it seems difficult to convince anyone to do anything differently - but it sounds like you have this covered.
 
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Hi Victor,

Very interesting read of the sample pages from your book. As a developer who works with clients on design aspects of web-based applications, I often find myself challenged to effectively meet their design needs. My goal is to learn to have strong fundamental skills when it comes to working with them to achieve an end product that meets or exceeds their expectations.

- Aside from going into meetings with clients with a positive attitude, showing empathy and really listening to what they are looking for (and need) in the design, how else would say it should be approached psychologically?
- Is it partly from your own experience in your career that you decided to write a book on this topic? I am always curious to know what inspires authors to pick specific topics on which to write

Congratulations on what will no doubt prove to be a best-seller! Cheers.

Regards,

Randy Maddocks



 
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Hi Randy,

Thanks for the compliment. I hope the book does well. I hope anyone that reads it finds value in what it provides.

I think any of the topics I cover in my book would help with client meetings in terms of understanding what leads people to making decisions. You might be able to use a few techniques depending on what you want to accomplish. For example, if you are trying to persuade someone to make an important decision, you want to make it immediately clear why the decision is relevant to their life (or business, or money, whatever the topic is). If people don’t see why something is relevant, they don’t pay attention to the details. Once you do make them aware of why something is relevant, you need to have the important details available. So if you were pushing for a certain design decision to be made, you’d first want to convey why the decision is important, and then you’d need to immediately have information to help them make the decision. At that point, their decision would be based on the quality of the information in conveying your message. This can be written, oral, or visually presented information.

Why did I write this book? You are correct that it is based on my background experience. My education and work history contained a lot of psychology and communication. I studied the psychology of influence and persuasion and communication in settings like science centers and zoos. I looked at how we can design exhibits to convey information to visitors during a visit. When I started working in digital design I saw many of the concepts I studied in informal science setting still held true in digital design settings. Basically designing for use taps into the same psychological principles whether you are designing a tangible experience or a digital experience. I saw a disconnect thought between the theory and how it was (or wasn’t) being communicated to practitioners. I started writing articles about how different psychological principles play out through design. I really enjoyed it and realized I had enough knowledge to write a book. I’m thankful Manning Publications thought the same thing and commissioned me to write Design for the Mind.

Victor
 
Randy Maddocks
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...if you are trying to persuade someone to make an important decision, you want to make it immediately clear why the decision is relevant to their life (or business, or money, whatever the topic is). If people don’t see why something is relevant, they don’t pay attention to the details.



Very true - if I am trying to convince clients how including a certain feature in the web app is critical, explaining the intimate details of the code itself likely wouldn't peak their interest or maybe even win them over. However, telling them that it could save their users half a day's or more work efforts would go a long way in convincing them!

All the best Victor!

 
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Randy Maddocks wrote:

...if you are trying to persuade someone to make an important decision, you want to make it immediately clear why the decision is relevant to their life (or business, or money, whatever the topic is). If people don’t see why something is relevant, they don’t pay attention to the details.



Very true - if I am trying to convince clients how including a certain feature in the web app is critical, explaining the intimate details of the code itself likely wouldn't peak their interest or maybe even win them over. However, telling them that it could save their users half a day's or more work efforts would go a long way in convincing them!

All the best Victor!



Agree cent percent. For us it is critical for business to say yes on certain features and for that it is important that they know the benefits the feature will bring to them and the customers; any benefit to the customer will surely be a huge win.
 
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