Evil by Design on Lynda.com

My online video training courses about Persuasive Design are now being released one-by-one on Lynda.com. They cover many of the design patterns and concepts from my Evil by Design book in an incredibly visual format. If you’ve already watched any of the courses, I’m sure you want to buy the book right away!

If you haven’t watched them yet, go and check them out. You can get a week’s free membership to Lynda.com. It’s an all-you-can-eat library of training material. Once you’ve worked your way through my content, there’s plenty more for designers, marketers, coders and all sorts of creative types.

Want to know more about my courses? Or already watched them and want more information? Here is a list of the topics in the courses, with links to related material on this site.

The Ethics of Persuasion

There are evil, commercial, motivational, and charitable uses for persuasion. Where on this spectrum is your use of persuasive design techniques?

  • The different types of persuasive design
  • What is acceptable persuasion?
  • How far should you take your persuasive design?

Using Self-Image for Persuasion

People’s self-image and desire to be liked can be used to persuade them to do things.

We aspire to be richer, more beautiful, more popular, and lots of companies promise to help us get there. By emphasizing status differences, they create desire and then show how that desire can be met using their products. Cognitive dissonance is the act of trying to resolve two disparate ideas. Clever companies get us to agree to something and then resolve our dis-ease by convincing ourselves that we really did want to do it in the first place. As soon as we believe that, we’ll continue doing that thing. Dunning and Kruger showed scientifically that we underestimate how difficult skilled tasks are, which plays into our aspirations.

Using Behavior Patterns for Persuasion

People are creatures of habit, and how hooking in to those habits lets us persuade them to do new things.

People like to complete sets, tidy things up, neaten up the edges. Once they’ve started the collection, they feel the need to complete it in order to get closure. People also like to take the shortest path to their goal. Often that means they miss important information that’s hidden off the desire line. People are creatures of habit, and as the casinos have shown, it’s easy to get hooked and create specific behavior patterns just by rewarding a certain set of behaviors until they perform them voluntarily. People also give up if things get hard. That often leaves plenty of money on the table for unscrupulous companies.

Using Illogical Reactions for Persuasion

People are often driven by emotion rather than logic, and we can also use emotional responses to drive new behaviors.

Just being told that something is exclusive or limited edition makes us lust it more. We also place a higher value on the things we have than do other people who do not have them. We aren’t as price-sensitive as we’d expect. Our concept of value for money is easily manipulated. Our inertia means that if we’re already signed up, we won’t cancel our order. And if screwy logic doesn’t do it, it’s easy to get metaphysical and appeal to emotion rather than to reason.

Using Credibility for Persuasion

The way people evaluate and respond to requests and orders is open to hacking.

Issues with how we trust cause us to place more weight on things that other people claim to like. We also feel the need to reciprocate when we’re given something. We obey authority figures – sometimes without question – and this can lead to issues where we are overly compliant. Also, when we are in a hurry or are unsure of the correct way forward, we tend to trust the default options.

OK, that’s plenty of reading – now it’s time to go and watch the courses, browse this site, or buy the book!