Persuasive Patterns workshop @PushConference

The persuasive patterns workshop was a one day stint delivered by Anders Toxboe from ui-patterns as part of Push conference – a conference in it’s 4th year that started with two designers that wanted to bring together the wide diaspora of people working in design.

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The key learnings from the day, sit roughly under three topics:

  1. Show me, don’t tell me.
  2. What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
  3. Path vs platform.

1.’Show me, don’t tell me’ is a technique long used with visual designers for example. Is the kind of communication that looks at how to have the most impact – instead of explaining something, find a visual example that conveys the point you’re trying to get across. This is not always easy, but when you do find it, you feel like a million bucks. The conversations goes like this:

You: Hey Grant, I’ve got something to show you.

Show the amazing pattern / example that articulates what you’re trying to achieve.

Grant: Oooooocow, now I get it. Cool.

Off you go happy that the designer and you can communicate #winning.

Now, the reason this is a key learning from this workshop is not because I haven’t used this before. It is mostly because, Anders has an insane wealth of examples to back up his 54 patterns. After a full day of him explaining the patterns, showing examples and getting us to do exercises (he did work us from minute one and it was incredible) he then moved onto the homework. Anders asked people to do some homework before hand and give him examples of projects that people were working with and what they were struggling with. He then showed each of the problematic points of the project and gave suggestions, generally in the form of another website that was addressing the problem well, i mean really well.

So, for the people participating going back to their bosses / product owners they could show them a presentation talking persuasive patterns, going through a prototype and the reasons why this would be a better solution or they could just show them how easy it is to sign up to okcupid.com.

The impact that this will have is huge and the amount of effort it will require from you is minimal = win/win.

So, this is something I am taking forward. Want to make a point? Find a living example. Show it, have them telling you ‘Yes, yes let’s do this’ and get on with your work even before it’s midday.

2. What’s the problem you’re trying to solve

Anders played with a love analogy throughout the day:

2.1 Seduce – get people to sign up

2.2 Fall in love – first use is awesome

2.3 Staying in love – engaging and ever lasting experience that grows in time

(Now, I have to share my pain – I am sitting down in a coffee place in karlzpats, the cafe Gloria-Palats. It’s great, it has internet and the people are nice. But, they have been playing an Eros Ramazotti album for the past hour.        .)

21. Seducing your users is about making it dead easy for them to say their first ‘yes’ to you. Devising a very very low barrier of entry, allows you to bring your users in to your service and get them to get going straight away. By the time you ask them to sign up they have already invested some of their time in, so it is in their best interest to do so.

We discussed a number os patterns that travel across the transparent – deceptive timeline but hey, it’s up to you how you use them.

2.2 Fall in love – they are in, they are interested now you have to deliver a delightful experience which will be a result of the overlap between user and business goals (visualise Ven diagram, it’s that sweet spot). We did an exercise that was dead easy and incredibly effective, so I am recommending everyone to do it from now on and will for sure take this back to my team:

A. Write your business goals

B. Write your user goals

C. Match the above

Simple, not dead easy but incredibly effective.

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2.3 Staying in love – the most difficult of the tasks! For this bit Anders talked about Fogg and M.A.T. – Motivation, Trigger and Ability.

Motivation comes from the user, it can also be looked at as an internal trigger something that comes from within. Ability is the result of a careful consideration of the flow channel – the sweet channel that sits between boredom when something is too easy, and anxiety when something is too difficult.

And finally, trigger, generally an eccentric one. this can be something that a website does to allow you to assess yourself in comparison to other people like you on the website.

This combination, obviously tied to value you get and your goals, works perfectly with the persuasive patterns Anders compiled.

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3. Path vs platform

The real revelation of this workshop came at the end, when Anders went beyond the patterns. Initially we tried to find the sweet spot between user and business goals. In that sweet spot we then designed paths for our users to go from A to B – user journeys and scenarios.

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If we then repeat the exercise of finding the overlap between the paths we have designed and the user goals, there is still a significant amount of things that sit outside what we have designed.

A platform is defined as a flexible, social space where users are free to roam around and do whatever they want. It is this open endedness that makes places like twitter and pinterest successful, because users can play and explore the space whilst engaging with other people flexibly, in a continuous learning experience. And this is how you get people to stay engaged foreva, and eva, and eva.

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