Shoppers tell us that emotion pays a huge role in their buying decisions. I wanted to create a product page that would let a shopper fall in love with a product. To do this, I created a fictional high-fashion shoe retailer called Beech & Taylor, which combines the best of eCommerce interaction design with the styling and engagement of a fashion magazine.
Having previously written about why the co-pilot should always land the airplane, I recently read something else that makes a lot of sense when it comes to whether or not you should let someone in their team get on with their idea, or if your staggering genius should over-ride it.
Two ex-US Marine officers offer the following rule of thumb: that if the person you are working with has a plan that is at least 60% as good as yours, you should let them do it, rather than pushing yours on them. The reason? They will do twice as good a job at it, because they own the plan, have a sense of responsibility for it and will make it work. And if for some reason it doesn't come off, they will work harder to get it back on track.
It stands strong and true, resilient and universal as the markup you write. It shines as bright and as bold as the forward-thinking, dedicated web developers you are. It's the standard's standard, a pennant for progress. And it certainly doesn't use tables for layout.
Chromaroma is a game that shows you your movements and location as you swipe your Oyster Card in and out of the Tube (Bus, Tram and Boat coming soon).It connects communities of people who cross paths and routes on a regular basis, and encourages people to make new journeys and use public transport in a different way by exploring new areas and potentially using different modes of public transport.
A few years ago, I read Chip and Dan Heath's masterwork about why some ideas live on in the mind and why some do not. It keeps coming back to me, which is as good a proof of their thesis as any I can think of. Anyone who is at all interested in communications and psychology should be winging their way to Amazon right now if they have not yet read it.
As a proof of their ideas, there is a simple mnemonic to help you remember the basic principle: SUCCESs
I cannot remember how many times I have come back to these since I read this and thought - yes. Now some of them are very fashionable topics in their own right - in particular the idea that the creation of powerful stories or narratives in brands, not least of all the conference devoted entirely for its benefit - The Story held over the past two years in London.
How do we find the essential core of our ideas? A successful defense lawyer says, "If you argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room they won't remember any." To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize. Saying something short is not the mission — sound bites are not the ideal. Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound. The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.
How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and how do we maintain their interest when we need time to get the ideas across? We need to violate people's expectations. We need to be counterintuitive. A bag of popcorn is as unhealthy as a whole day's worth of fatty foods! We can use surprise — an emotion whose function is to increase alertness and cause focus — to grab people's attention. But surprise doesn't last. For our idea to endure, we must generate interest and curiosity. How do you keep students engaged during the fortyeighth history class of the year? We can engage people's curiosity over a long period of time by systematically "opening gaps" in their knowledge — and then filling those gaps.
How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes awry. Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions — they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images — ice-filled bathtubs, apples with razors — because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. In proverbs, abstract truths are often encoded in concrete language: "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.
How do we make people believe our ideas? When the former surgeon general C. Everett Koop talks about a public-health issue, most people accept his ideas without skepticism. But in most day-to-day situations we don't enjoy this authority. Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves — a "try before you buy" philosophy for the world of ideas. When we're trying to build a case for something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard numbers. But in many cases this is exactly the wrong approach. In the sole U.S. presidential debate in 1980 between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, Reagan could have cited innumerable Statistics demonstrating the sluggishness of the economy. Instead, he asked a simple question that allowed voters to test for themselves: "Before you vote, ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago."
How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. In the case of movie popcorn, we make them feel disgusted by its unhealthiness. The statistic "37 grams" doesn't elicit any emotions. Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions. Sometimes the hard part is finding the right emotion to harness. For instance, it's difficult to get teenagers to quit smoking by instilling in them a fear of the consequences, but it's easier to get them to quit by tapping into their resentment of the duplicity of Big Tobacco.
How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Firefighters naturally swap stories after every fire, and by doing so they multiply their experience; after years of hearing stories, they have a richer, more complete mental catalog of critical situations they might confront during a fire and the appropriate responses to those situations. Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.
"Remember that time you saw all those awesome Coming Soon pages and wanted to make one for that new idea of yours? Then you realized how annoying it was to make one. Not anymore. Capturely gives you the guts of a Coming Soon page for you to make amazing."