Instant Recap: Persuasive Patterns and Designing to Achieve Outcomes by #IS2016 Closing Keynote Speaker Russell Parrish from IBM

Center Stage Themes: The Ethical Nudge

Play Abstract: UX and UI design is in its golden era, but we must remember to use its new found power in an ethical manner, something that manifests in what we might call (borrowed from Richard Thaler) “the ethical nudge”.

Setting the Stage: Russ Parrish has worked on major enterprise projects for world renowned companies. His style is casual, his insights unique, and his style engaging. We saw pictures of UI and UX that were alternatively inspiring, engaging, interactive, and infuriating. 

Building the Action: As Parrish learned in his career to date, the human touch and quantified happiness is essential to the success of an application, an insight that led comfortably and cleanly into the conceptual definition of design he offered our audience: design is the intent behind the outcome. To form intent that matches intended outcomes at speed and scale means understanding what people want through a non-linear, iterative process: make, reflect, observe. This creates a continuous delivery model that can be leverage for software, or really anything.

Action and Insights: There’s no such thing as a neutral design, and small changes can lead to BIG results. Parrish described how a slight change to an organ donor site (exchanging opt-in for opt-out) led to a tremendous increase in donors. In another experiment, arrangement of foods in a kids’ cafeteria determined consumption behaviors by a swing of up to 25%.

Contrast also greatly affects decision-making. Comparison of examples can make a difference. When a woman at Lowe’s asked Parrish to donate $20 to fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease, he said no. But when she asked in response if he would donate  $2, she agreed. Apparently, she converts 1/3 of prospects into donors, FAR above the industry average.

We see a similar principle at play with Amazon Smile, which will donate $2 to the charity of your choice when you checkout, building loyalty to the company.

IBM’s Design Language is a fast way to examine nudges like these from a design perspective.

Curtain Call: Russell, like Roger Dooley, showed us a picture of his dog in Christmas pajamas, making for fantastic bookends to a long day of magnificent marketing presentations.

He also adapted well to an uncooperative clicker via the use of onomatopoeia, saying “ding!” whenever he needed a slide change from a manual assistant.

A testament to Parrish’s presentation was the fact that, even at 4:41 PM, after a day of presentations, the crowd remained engaged. We thank him for coming and presenting such an interesting closing discussion.

Key Takeaway: The needs of your user MUST come before the needs of your business. If you want insight into nudges from a UX perspective, Parrish was nice enough to share some insights.