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June 29, 2018

In an urban setting, owning a dog is simulated parenting – conspicuous caring. The in-utilitarian dog serves a purpose, but not the one for which dogs were created. In-utilitarian dogs are a means of signaling (communicating) one’s valuable traits to others – especially potential mates, but also potential allies.

March 12, 2018

We realized that much of the waste produced by takeout was delayed. Many (most?) restaurants include in the “takeout kit” items such as plastic cutlery, salt & pepper tiny bags, ketchup etc. that are not necessary in the context of eating at home. Sure, if you’re eating in a hotel room you need these items, but if you’re eating at home, you have your own cutlery, plates and, better ketchup.

March 6, 2018

When it comes to sending emails to existing and prospective clients, clicks and engagement are the subjects of most discussions. And it makes sense. But what if an email can play an important role in the customers’ experiences without even being opened? It’s a bit counter-intuitive, I know. But here’s an example of such an email.

A bit of background information

Soon after my wife and I moved to the USA, we subscribed to Hello Fresh, a meal kit delivery service, and we’ve been using happily for abo...

March 6, 2018

Axiom: All Experiences End

Physical products have various life durations ranging from a few minutes (e.g. food) to thousands of years (e.g. buildings). Physical goods can outlive their owners (hence, there is the institution of inheritance). However, services and experiences end rather quickly relative to the clients’ life expectancy. All experiences end.

After an experience ends, it transforms into a memory.

The lay (naïve?) view on human memory is that people record facts and feelings in a simila...

March 2, 2018

I came across a twit from Dan Ariely sharing a post from the blog of the Center for Advanced Hindsight: “A Surprising Way to Protect Yourself from This Year’s Nasty Flu”

In my view, unfortunately, the article resembles more quasi-tabloid style journalism than rigorous popularization of science.

Screen capture source

The post’s main theme is that hugging (yes, hugging) can help protect against the flu. The author mentions a study in which it was found a negative correlation between hugging behavior...

March 1, 2018

Experience designers should consider the customers’ overall experiences, not just the experience during the interaction with the service provider.

February 26, 2018

Recently I was asked to join a project on improving the customer experience of waiting at an upper-end photo retailer. Naturally, waiting is not nice. Most often waiting is “dead time” – that dreadful experience of one wanting for a part of their life to go away (pass) as fast as possible.

When it comes to waiting, the guiding behavioral science principles are “empty time is a drag” and “make waiting time useful, interesting, not necessarily pleasant” – you want people to leave eventually.

Nonethe...

February 7, 2018

Good design enables people to do (achieve) what they want without them realizing it. I know, it sounds a bit daunting, but this is how very good design works.

A well-designed product, service or experience helps people achieve their goals without shouting out-loud “notice me” and “praise me”.

Services such as cruises and theme parks that are purchased entirely for the experience are exceptions to this rule. Nobody goes on a cruise for transportation - getting from, say, Anchorage to Vancouver.  

Th...

January 29, 2018

From a decision-making psychology perspective, US Public Health spokespeople communicate the flu vaccine’s effectiveness in a severely flawed manner. They mention the "Guesstimate" 30% as the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine. Public authorities (especially those in healthcare) must communicate to ordinary citizens in ways in which ordinary citizens understand the message. Communicating risk information to the general public is a bit more complicated than just throwing around p...

January 26, 2018

Nowadays, customer (user) experience designers’ mantra is a quest for achieving excellence. This takes various verbal forms such as “customer obsession”. But, customer experience doesn’t need to be great, fabulous or exquisite. Customer experience needs to be authentic, fluent and, for the most part, invisible. I’ll talk about invisibility in a future post.

Customer experience needs to be authentic – in the sense that it is what people expect it to be, not what they would ideally wish for it to b...

January 16, 2018

Customer experience managers seem to miss the point that what they design is only a small and often irrelevant part of an individual’s life. From a customer experience management perspective, it makes perfect sense for the sandwich shop to strive to give its customers the best possible service and experience in the shop. But, that 5-20 minutes experience in the shop is...

January 10, 2018

Choice paralysis should be the nemesis of all retailers in the developed world. If people can’t make a choice when faced with an abundance of options to chose from, then sales should go down. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, there is no comprehensive study to show that an increase in the number of options leads to a decrease in sales. Below are a few potential explanations for the absence of choice paralysis.

December 8, 2017

A marginalized ethnic group’s tradition of blatantly displaying wealth gives some valuable insights on financial behavior in the XXIst century world. Moreover, “Conspicuous saving” offers valuable insights for the design of consumer financial products aimed at increasing financial security. (7 min read + an invitation).

December 1, 2017

"Say out-loud the color of the word" is the typical instruction in the Stroop Task. The trick is that when when green is in green font, people have no problem with answering correctly under time pressure. However, when green is in red font, people stumble because we read faster than we think about the color. Illiterate people have no problem with correctly naming the color of the word, as they can't read. 

The Stroop Task is used in psychology experimental studies and, in the huge majority...

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