Word: Framing effect
Definition: A form of cognitive bias, in which a person’s reaction to a specific choice is different depending on the way in which the situation is presented.
Reference: Leaders in the study of behavioral economics, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, wrote a paper entitled “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice” in 1981 to understand the psychological impact of framing effects.
The study asked the first group of participants if they would drive 20 minutes out of their way to buy a $15 calculator for $5 off. About 70% of participants said they would. For comparison, they asked a second group of participants if they would drive 20 minutes out of their way to save $5 on a $125 jacket. This time, only 29% said they would.
So what’s the rationale behind this seeming irrationality? In the case of the calculator, the participant would be saving 33% off the original price, which feels like a great deal. On the flip side, she is only saving 4% when $5 is taken off the $125 coat and that just doesn’t seem worth it.
It’s all about the framing!
Thoughts: When creating a design that involves decision making, these are the types of psychological principles designers need to consider.
Remember to keep in mind that framing effects are closely tied to anchoring, both of which are extremely useful in e-commerce, particularly when it comes to price-setting.
Word: Predictive Persona
Definition: A research tool that allows you to validate whether you can accurately identify somebody who will become a customer. These types of personas go beyond merely describing what a user is like, but also offer specific characteristics that will make a person become a new or a returning customer.
Reference: I first learned of this term from designer Laura Klein in her blog post for Invision. Klein wants to turn the traditional “describe your current user” persona model on its head by changing the way designers think about this portrait. She writes:
“But the question they should be asking themselves isn’t, ‘If I interviewed a user, would this describe her?’ The question should be, ‘If I found a person like this, would she become a user?'”
Thoughts: The key to predictive personas is to identify traits and feature that will make a person want to become a customer. Once the persona is created, then designers can recruit research participants that fit this description. If you have a hard time doing this, something is wrong with your persona! Eureka!
It is always refreshing to try out a new take on an old research technique, so let’s get predicting!
Word: Infinite Scroll
Definition: When the content on a page continuously loads as the user scrolls down the page; essentially eliminating the need for pagination. Think Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.
Thoughts: Infinite scroll has become an enormously popular user interface trend. It requires less precision and much fewer clicks, which typically help retain user attention over time. This UI pattern is extremely useful when displaying a large amount of content, all with a similar hierarchy, like on social media.
However, like most UI patterns, there is a time and a place for everything. It is not always the best option when designing a goal-oriented task, like locating specific objects or comparing products. When there is a goal at stake, an infinite scroll can feel like information-overload and make the task seem more difficult to accomplish.
Moral of this story is that infinite scroll is a trendy and effective UI technique, just make sure that it is used properly and with purpose!
Question: How much does the threat of page loading time effect your decision to utilize an infinite scroll your design?
Word: Structure plane
Definition: The third plane of Jesse James Garrett’s “Five Planes of User Experience” which focuses on interaction design and information architecture.
Thoughts: The previous planes help identify objectives and requirements but it is in the structure phase that the actual product functionality and information architecture is defined. The mental model begins to shift at this phase of development. The designer stops thinking broad strokes and abstract ideas and she begins to focus in on concrete details.
The structure plane works to set in place the interaction design, information architecture, conceptual models, error handling, and team roles and process.
Strap in folks, there is no turning back now!
Word: Scope plane
Definition: The second plane of Jesse James Garrett’s “Five Planes of User Experience” which focuses on functional specifications and content requirements.
Thoughts: The plane before “scope” is “strategy”. The UX process transitions into the scope phase once the user needs are translated into product objectives and requirements. This plane is an extremely important step in unifying the entire team by establishing a reference point and a common language to use throughout the product’s development.
The scope plane works to set in place the product content and functionality by defining and prioritizing those requirements.
Word: Strategy plane
Definition: The first plane of Jesse James Garrett’s “Five Planes of User Experience” which focuses on product objectives and user needs.
Thoughts: UX Strategy is the foundation for a successful product and an important first step in product creation. Before beginning a project, it is important to understand firstly what the product is setting out to accomplish and secondly, what user needs are being addressed. Hence, this should be your “lightbulb moment”.
The strategy plane works to set in place the product objects and the business goals while working to define success metrics and brand identity.
lightbulb gfx credit
Word: Feature Creep
Definition: The ongoing addition of new features to a product that tends to result in over-complication and loss of initial focus and purpose.
Thought: Feature creep is the exact reason why it’s important to identify an MVP (Most Viable Product) and stick with it. This is the time to excise self-control. Pick your most important features to build out, and then build only those. As soon as you start introducing new and unnecessary additions, you’re product will lose its focus which can be disastrous. That is my PSA, please know you have been warned.
Question: Can you think of a great but simple product that was ruined by feature creep?
Word: Call To Action
Definition: An interface element (usually in the form of a button, link, etc) that aims to prompt or encourage a user to perform a particular activity
Thought: The Call To Action should be displayed prominently to guide the user, focus the site, and measure success. Word of warning, less is more! Don’t render your perfectly crafted Call To Action useless by offering too many actionable options. Be precise and determined in your placement. You should not take this topic lightly; take action instead!
Question: Is there ever a time when a homepage can work successfully without an obvious actionable call?