Why users are irrational and what we can do about it

The work of behavioral psychologists like Daniel Khanman, Amos Tversky, Dan Arielly, Richard Thaler and others has brought to light the fact that human beings often act in ways that defy rationality. Their empirical reasearch has revealed a long list of what are called "cognitive biases". 

This research is now increasingly being used by human-computer interaction and usability professionals as a window into some of the problems users have with interfaces. 

The first part of the session will provide a short overview of some of the cognitive biases that commonly interfere with usability and examples of how designers with an understanding of these tendencies have used that to their advanage.

The second part of the session shifts away from usability towards intent. Here we will explore how it is possible for user experience designers to use known cognitive biases to influence user behavior. We will discuss how advertisers have unwittingly stumbled upon these techniques in the past and used them to their advantage, and how they can be used in a transparent and ethical way in the future. 


Why_users_are_irrational.pdf4.17 MB
Saturday, Oct 26th
10:00am - 10:45am


Skill Level