Entries by Katherine Bertolucci

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Names on a Memorial

Like all language, organized information can be persuasive. It “directs our thinking,” as biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote about classification. Names on memorials are examples of organized information where arrangement defines a visitor’s experience. The thoughtful chronology of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial builds a space for individual remembrance. A World War I memorial does the same, but with a different arrangement strategy, reflecting the difference in the two wars. In contrast, the random arrangement proposed for the World Trade Center memorial almost derailed the project. Yet, in another context, random builds community at the Memorial Temples of Burning Man.
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Conditioning or Reinforcing Target Behaviors

In psychology, this is called operant conditioning. Put a piece a cheese at the end of a maze and see how long it takes the rat to learn the maze. If you have a dog, you probably have used this method. Give your dog a bone when it displays the desired behavior. I successfully used conditioning with my aggressive cat to trim her claws. Trim a claw, deliver a treat. Trim a claw, deliver a treat. After a few sessions of this, she learned to sit still for her manicure, without the treat Click here for the full article.

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Names on a Memorial

Like all language, organized information can be persuasive. It “directs our thinking,” as biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote about classification. Names on memorials are examples of organized information where arrangement defines a visitor’s experience. The thoughtful chronology of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial builds a space for individual remembrance. A World War I memorial does the same, but with a different arrangement strategy, reflecting the difference in the two wars. In contrast, the random arrangement proposed for the World Trade Center memorial almost derailed the project. Yet, in another context, random builds community at the Memorial Temples of Burning Man.
Click here for the full article.

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Surveillance or Persuasion through Observation

A few hours after the attempted assassination of Arizona Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords (Dem.), her fellow Arizonan, Representative Jeff Flake (Rep.), said in a local radio interview, “What you see on the cable shows, sometimes, is a lot of bickering back and forth but I have to say that’s more in front of the cameras. Behind the cameras, there’s not as much vitriol.” We behave differently when we know we are being watched.
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Suggestion or Intervening at the Right Time

B. J. Fogg’s Principle of Suggestion: A computing technology will have greater persuasive power if it offers suggestions at opportune moments.

In his book Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, B. J. Fogg describes a small electronic trailer sitting at the side of the road, flashing the speed of each car driving by. If you are over the speed limit, you just received a suggestion to slow down at the very moment you are speeding. If, instead of driving, you are at your computer looking at NetFlix, the suggestion for films you might enjoy is made at the moment you are planning to select a movie. Click here for the full article.

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Tailoring or Persuasion Through Customization

Fogg’s Principle of Tailoring: Information provided by computing technology will be more persuasive if it is tailored to the individual’s needs, interests, personality, usage context, or other factors relevant to the individual.

We are all familiar with tailored technology. Every time you go to Amazon.com or Netflix, you are presented with items selected for you based on previous choices. B. J. Fogg in Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do describes a site called Scorecard. Enter your zip code and it will tell you about the pollution in your neighborhood.

Tailoring is one of the reasons for the success of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The war lasted for about 18
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Tunneling or Guided Persuasion

Fogg’s Principle of Tunneling: “Using computing technology to guide users through a process or experience provides opportunities to persuade along the way.”

This month we take a journey to tunneling in our series on B. J. Fogg’s seven tools of persuasion from his book Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do. Fogg cites software installation as a tunnel. That frequently involves staying near the computer and answering questions every so often. You are a captive audience as the installation proceeds. As such, you may experience promotions for other products or about the benefits of your new purchase. You and the company share a journey of software installation, with the company selecting the sights along the route.
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