In October 2017, the Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Richard H. Thaler, a man who challenges the impact the current economic models (the ones that are designed for type A personas) have on our societies. He argues that the majority of the people are type B personas, and that the type A, “Econs” as he calls them, from Homo Economicus, are a fictional constructed version of Homo Sapiens. He was recognized for integrating economics with psychology and his contribution to Behavioral Economics. He has also made a great contribution to libertarian paternalism, helping to nudge people towards making the right decision for themselves by making small behavioral changes.
Studying behavior to help end users
For us at Designit, our work as designers is to make the jobs/tasks that the end user needs to do easier, reducing the cognitive load when possible, nudging the user towards better actions. So, in the digital world this might be about putting a Call-To-Action (CTA, a button) in an appropriate place or arranging the Information Architecture (IA) based on usage. In the physical world, it might be about making the total user journey less cumbersome, seeing how real, malleable people behave in different ways depending on their changing circumstances, and observing how they interact with a company. In other words, design the journey around the user rather than the internal functions of the company.
We want to design what matters. And to us, Thaler’s research, the research around decision architecture and the impact of default choices make us passionate about creating experiences that nudge the end user in the direction that is best for them. We see this Prize in Economic Sciences as a wake up call for companies to work differently, to understand users better through research, and to apply a more open approach in solving the issues at hand. Like prototyping and testing with real-life complicated emotional people (type B personas), having them react to proposed solutions and including them in the design of the experience. These realizations about the true nature of users — and our assumptions about them — are very exciting! The research world is finally opening their eyes to the possibilities of the marriage between design and behavioral science.
…but are you ready to act differently and to redesign products and services for a more human fit?
We hope so.
Last, but not least, don’t postpone it for tomorrow!
[CTA to pension savings] [CTA to quit smoking]
[CTA to what whatever you thought of in the beginning of this article]