Posts Tagged ‘upa

At the UPA Boston conference, Colleen Roller discussed why seemingly insignificant aspects of information presentation can have a surprising effect on people’s perceptions and behavior.

  • People like to make easy choices
  • Cognitive fluency is how easy or difficult it is to think about something. Cognitive fluency is subtle and pervasive.
  • People tend to be attracted to what is: average, familiar, symmetrical.
  • The mere exposure effect – Exposing people to stimuli more than once increases attractiveness
  • What impacts how people determine the truth of unfamiliar statements? The size / color of text, frequency of exposure, rhyming words.
  • Rhyming words are an easier cognitive load / mental ease
  • People apply the sensation of mental ease to statements
  • Fluency of perceived truth is as follows: easy to decipher => must be familiar / safe => must be popular  (reply on social consensus when unsure) => must be true
  • People perceive things with names that are hard to pronounce as: risky, new & novel, exciting and full of adventure, likely to make them sick
  • Something that feels hard to decipher => is not familiar => must be risky
  • Rhyming text is easily remembered and seems more accurate
  • How its worded / appearance changes perception of statement (rhyme as reason effect)
  • People will postpone difficult decisions when the fond size used is difficult to read.
  • What can help people be more careful and prevent silly mistakes on tests? Using a font that is difficult to read.
  • A personal questionnaire that is less legible causes people to answer less honestly
  • To boost student morale, ask them to list a few reasons why they’ll succeed, many reasons why they my fail. It raises moral because the amount of mental work needed to come up with a long list of reasons for failure changes perception.

At the UPA Boston conference, Janelle Estes discussed how she used a variety of user research methods to assess how people use postings from companies and organizations on social networks.

  • Estes conducted a usability study and a diary study
  • She recruited people  who used 2+ social networks for 3+ months, as well as folks that were willing to access their social network accounts during test sessions
  • The usability study revealed that users often have a difficult time finding where to sign-up to receive postings. They will search on keywords such as “friends, connect, social”, and many sites don’t have results on those common terms.
  • The diary study was a 4 week study. Estes sent out assignments 3x per week, and asked for responses using a Google spreadsheet. She sent the assignment on a consistent schedule. Estes suggest that its important to make a connection with participants over the phone prior to the study, and it might be a good idea to vary assignments or shorten the study with more participants.

Estes was able to glean some design guidelines from her study as follows:

  • Users had varying expectations on message types, it all depended on the org. News: top stories, Consumer: new products, sales; Non-Profit: Initiatives: upcoming events
  • Place important information at the beginning of the message, as people only scan the first few words
  • Clearly describe where a link take users
  • Users expected companies to be personable, informal, have more personality
  • Engage in two way conversation
  • Initiate conversation about relevant topics
  • Send messages regularly, but not too regularly
  • Choose a meaningful and eye-catching profile picture
  • Place calls to action on the homepage, footer navigation, and pair them with appropriate logos
  • Provide social network information in email and newsletters

At the UPA Boston conference, Bryn Dews and Thom Brando discussed their open-source prioritization game.

It is often difficult to get users to prioritize a list of features. In order to set priorities, Dews and Brando came up with a monopoly like game.

  • Provide users with “money” and have them “buy” features.
  • Ask users, “What’s it worth to you?”
  • Utilize 100 dollars in “bills”
  • Pilot tested the game using a physical board, then created an open-source online game
  • The game allows you to input and describe features, let users “buy” features, and write-in features as well as suggestions.
  • The game and installation instructions can be found here:


Alla Zollers

I design products and services that just. make. sense.

When products make sense, customers are happy.

If customer are happy, they sign-up, stay on site, engage, share, and buy your product or service.

Happy customers allow companies to profit in both senses of the word.

I provide the following services:

• Heuristic Evaluations
• Discovery Research
• Strategy and Vision Development
• Information Architecture
• User Experience Design
• Usability Testing

You can find me on:

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