Scheduling Keynotes And Workshops for 2017

Just a quick note that we’ve started scheduling workshops and keynotes for 2017. We’re excited to be at the Habit Summit on April 4-5 with Nir Eyal, for example.

It seems like 2017 is a long way from now, but it will be here before you know it. If you’d like Susan or Guthrie to come give a talk or workshop let us know. We’re putting together some brand new topics that we think you will like.

(And if you want to try and squeeze something in before 2016 is over contact us at info@theteamw.com or call at 847-909-5946. Our 4th quarter is pretty full, but we’ll see if we can get you in.)

New Series: 365 Ways To Persuade & Motivate

If you’ve been following my blog posts for a while you probably know that a few years ago I did a series called “100 Things You Need To About People”. It was a popular series that finished in April of 2011. Since then I’ve been writing individual blog posts, and wondering if I could/should come up with another series.

Well, I’m jumping in again, starting today. I’ve decided to do a new series called “365 Ways To Persuade & Motivate”. I’d like to do a blog a day for a year, but don’t hold me to that! I don’t know if I can really get a blog out every single day!

You can check out the first post of the series here.

Hope you enjoy the new series!

365 Ways To Persuade & Motivate: #1 Direct Eye Contact Is Not Always Best

Photo of Presidents Clinton and Ford looking at each other

We’ve all been told how important it is to make eye contact when interacting with other people. Direct eye contact makes you seem trustworthy, confident, and interested in the topic you are discussing, right? All those things are true BUT new research shows that direct eye contact can lessen the effectiveness of your message in one critical situation:

Frances Chen researched people listening and watching videos of other people talking about controversial social and/or political topics. Participants watched videos with speakers discussing topics with a strong viewpoint that was opposite to what the participants believed. Some participants were asked to watch the speaker’s eyes, and others were asked to watch the speaker’s mouth. Participants who watched the speaker’s eyes were LESS likely to change their opinion on the topic than the participants who watched the speaker’s mouth.

Why would this be true? Chen’s hypothesis is that direct eye contact can be seen as threatening.

Implications?:

  • If you are talking to people who agree with you, and trying to get them fired up to take action, then use direct eye contact.
  • But If you are talking to people who don’t agree with you, then you may want to minimize the amount of direct eye contact you have.
  • If you are making a video and you believe that people will agree with you, then look right into the camera lense.
  • If you are making a video and you think people don’t agree with you, then look off to the side instead of into the camera.

What do you think? Have you experienced this difference between eye contact and whether you agree with the person speaking?

Here’s the research citation:

Chen, F.S., Minson, J.A., Schöne, M., & Heinrichs, M. (in press). In the eye of the beholder: Eye contact increases resistance to persuasion. Psychological Science.

To learn more check out our 1 day seminar on The Science of Persuasion.

New Blog and Website Design

Picture of new Weinschenk website homepage

You may have noticed that our blog page looks different than usual. That’s because we’ve switched to a new theme. You may or may not have noticed that the menu bar at the blog has also changed. The only link is to the Weinschenk Institute website. We’ve not only changed the blog, but we’ve launched a new website too. We’re in the middle of some user testing of the new site, and the blog, and we’re still iterating the design and the content. We’re up for comments if you have any feedback on either the blog or the website.

The new designs for both the blog and website are “responsive” designs with an emphasis on tablet and small footprint use.

Let us know what you think, either in the comments here, or send me an email: susan@theteamw.com

 

 

Is UX a “Rose by any other name?”

roseI’m going to be somewhat honest here: I’m no “spring chicken”. I don’t know if I’m prepared to tell you exactly how old I am, but here’s a story that will give you some hints: When I was in graduate school I had to file a formal appeal with the dean of the graduate school in order to get approval to create and submit my dissertation on a computer rather than typing on a typewriter. That hadn’t been done before and they weren’t sure it would be allowed (they did allow it).

Suffice it to say that I’ve had a long career in my “field”. But even after all this time I, and many others, are still struggling with what the field is, what it is called, and how to describe what we do. You’d think we’d have had it figured out by now, but we apparently haven’t.

So what is it that I do anyway? I use psychology and brain science to predict and direct behavior. A lot of my history has to do with designing the interactions between people and technology. Because I’ve been in the field so long I pre-date the term “user experience”. In fact, I pre-date many terms, including: usability, user friendly, user-centered design. The term I, and many others, tend  to use most often is “user experience” but many object to the term “user”.  And ask 10 “user experience professionals” what they do and they will tell you 10 different things.

Jim Jacoby has a post at the admci website with a great video of Peter Merholz speaking at a conference about what user experience really is, and what the work really is. I don’t agree with everything Peter says, but it is a thought-provoking video, and it got me thinking not only what user experience people do, but about the term “user experience”.

I’d like to use a different term to describe what I do, but I’m not sure what that would be.

Customer experience doesn’t work because a lot of the experiences I am designing aren’t for customers. They might be for employees, or visitors. Is a museum visitor really a “customer”? I know the employees at Wal-Mart aren’t “customers”. And people going to their government website to do self-service are not really customers either. I’ve designed for all of these audiences, so “customer” doesn’t really work.

Then I thought perhaps I’d just describe it as “Experience Design” or “Behavioral Design”. But that brings us into the thorny area of what “design” means. Is it visual design? Interaction design? And sometimes I’m not even designing. I’m evaluating, or strategizing what the experience should or should not be. But the terms “Experience Strategy” or “Behavorial Strategy” seem just as bad as “User Experience”.

A rose by any other name is still a rose?

What do you think? How do you describe and name it?

 

 

Design For Engagement Live Video event

Join me on June 5th at 12 noon EDT for a FREE live video event via Livestream.

Design for Engagement Live Website Critiques

Wed Jun 5, 2013 12:00pm  — 1:00pm EDT

Come join me in a free live online video event. I’ll be taking website suggestions from the audience and then discussing–on the spot–how to improve the persuasion and engagement of the various websites. While I’m reviewing and discussing each website, you’ll be participating through chat that all participants can see and respond to. We’ll review as many websites as we can get to 20 minutes and then we’ll have lots of time for Q&A. Email your suggestions to me (susan@theteamw) for websites you’d like to see reviewed ahead of time or put them in the comments here, and don’t miss this fun and educational opportunity.

To join the free Livestream event all you have to do is go to the Livestream event page on June 5th, at 12 noon Eastern US time. That’s it! No registration is necessary.

In the meantime, go to the event page now and you can click a link to put the event in your calendar, or follow the event for updates.

I hope you will join me, and don’t forget to submit ideas for the websites that will get the engagement critique, either here in the comments or email me at susan@theteamw.com

 

Should Technology Follow Human-To-Human Communication Rules?

What do we expect when we communicate with technology? Do we expect that the technology will communicate with us following the same rules as when we communicate with other people? The answer is yes, and I explain the implication of this in this video excerpt from my Design For Engagement online video course.

Below the video is a summary of what I discuss in the video.

When people interact with each other they follow rules and guidelines for social interaction. Here’s an example: You are sitting in a café and your friend Mark comes into the café and sees you sitting by the window. Mark comes over to you and says, “Hi, how are you doing today?” Mark expects you to interact with him, and he expects that interaction to follow a certain protocol. He expect you to look at him, in fact to look him in the eye. If your previous interactions have been positive, then he expects you to smile a little bit. Next, you are supposed to respond to him by saying something like, “I’m fine. I’m sitting outside here to enjoy the beautiful weather.” Where the conversation goes next depends on how well you know each other. If you are just casual acquaintances, he might wind down the conversation, “Well, enjoy it while you can, bye!” If you are close friends, then he might pull up a chair and engage in a longer conversation.

You both have expectations of how the interaction will go, and if either of you violates the expectations, then you will get uncomfortable. For example, what if Mark starts the conversation as above, with “Hi,how are you doing today?” but you don’t respond. What if you ignore him? Or what if you won’t look at him? What if you say back, “My sister never liked the color blue”, and stare into space. Or perhaps you give him more personal information than your relationship warrants. Any of these scenarios would make him uncomfortable. He would probably try to end the conversation as soon as possible, and likely avoid interacting with you next time the opportunity arises.

Online Interactions Have the Same Rules — The same is true of online interactions. When you go to a website or use an online application, you have assumptions about how the website will respond to you and what the interaction will be like. And many of these expectations mirror the expectations that you have for person-to-person interactions. If the website is not responsive or takes too long to load, it is like the person you are speaking to not looking at you, or ignoring you. If the website asks for personal information too soon in the flow of the interaction, that is like the other person getting too personal. If the website does not save your information from session to session, that is like the other person not recognizing you or remembering that you know each other.

Designers tend to spend a lot of time on “macro” design — layout, color, grids, navigation, as well they should, since those are important. But it is often the “micro” interactions that determine whether or not a product or website is easy to use. Can you fill in the form quickly? Does the label make sense? Is the button in the right place? Did you just get an error message that is undecipherable? Sometimes the micro interaction design doesn’t get as much time or attention, and it is very possibly the micro interactions that are defining the user experience of the product or service.

Give Me Your Opinion — What Should Be My Next Online Video Course?

QuestionMarkIn April 50 people signed up to take one of my online video courses that I offer through Udemy.com. A big thank you to those who have signed up for a course. I have enjoyed putting these together, and the feedback I’m getting is that they are helpful and that people are learning a lot by taking them.

Now I need YOUR feedback on what the next courses should be that I develop.

Currently I have these four courses:

 

Task Analysis Boot Camp Course Logo

 

 

 

 

 

Personas & Scenarios Course Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets of Intuitive Design Course Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designing For Engagement

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m working right now on this course:

Great Presenter

 

 

 

 

 

 

which will be ready in a few weeks.

Now the question is, what’s next?

I have a lot of ideas (in fact I have a whole list of courses in the queue, but I haven’t started them). Give me your opinion. What online video courses are you interested in taking that I should consider developing?

Write your ideas in the comments area, or send an email to susan@theteamw.com

Thanks in advance for your feedback!