E-commerce Link: Human by Design
The user experience (UX) community is slowly starting to realize that designing for usability alone is no longer enough to gain consumer loyalty. Human Factors International, a company specializing in user-centered design, has coined the term "PET design" and has come up with a set of guidelines to help improve the development of great user experience. PET design stands for:
- Persuasion: Communication intended to induce belief or action, guiding someone toward the adoption of an idea, attitude or action.
- Emotion: Physiological state of arousal. Triggered by beliefs about something. Has a cognitive, physiological, social and behavioral aspect.
- Trust: To have faith or confidence in something or someone.
The idea of using these concepts to support good usability is an important one—we need to ensure that users not only can perform a task (usability), but they will feel compelled to do so (persuasion, emotion and trust). It is the interplay between motivation and ability. A perfectly usable website won't add much to your brand if the message it carries doesn't appeal to its intended audience. PET design speaks to how UX designers and marketers can marry their expertise to create a consistent experience. Here are some PET principles we should keep in mind when designing for the Web:
• Less choice is better: Users get stuck when given too many choices. People tend to want more information than they can actually process and we need to find a sweet spot for how much to offer.
• Commitment and consistency: These go hand in hand. Users behave more consistently when they are committed. If you can get users to commit (by providing contact information, for instance), and you start a relationship with the users (by sending a free copy of a magazine), then the users will be more likely to commit (pay for a subscription) later on. The more committed users are, the more consistent their actions will be (regular subscription renewals).