As a UX designer, we look forward to designing persuasive experiences that matter. Human brains are complex, but to what extent you want to make it complex is purely in your hand. This article is an introduction to what I feel human psychology would impact in decision making.
We might not consciously realise it, but our purchase or decisions are influenced by the product’s design, the placement of objects & the way the company has presented it to us.
Have you ever thought your decisions are purely rational?
The term rational (or logical) is applied to decision making that is consciously analytic, the term non-rational (or judgemental) to decision making that is intuitive and judgmental, and the term irrational to decision making is the behavior that responds to the emotions or that deviates from action chosen “rationally.”
Well, then this might change your perspective a little,
1. Psychology of decision making in e-commerce
You planned to buy a television, for most of us it feels like a rational decision. But, is it really a rational? In truth, not really, at least not for the vast majority of us. There are always technophiles who love to read through manuals, compare it in detail and then buy, but for most of the people, it either can’t be bothered or they don’t really care about it. It’s a decision that we will simplify into a series of small steps, each of which seems rational but which is — in fact — non-rational. Most of the decisions are made in parts of the mind that we don’t have any way to access it consciously. The biggest conscious action is executing that decision, not making it. According to Baymard Institute, a UK-based web usability research organization, about 69% of users abandon their shopping carts before even checking out.
2. Psychology of decision making in food and restaurant
Once we all would have had a debate with our friends on deciding that unique place to eat or order from. There will be chat groups discussing it in detail. With colleagues, the discussion starts in the morning and goes till afternoon without a conclusion. A study shows that an average American couple spends 132 hours a year deciding what to eat. Why is it so difficult? Even though we could describe what we should be doing in logical or rational terms.
If you are a person who orders food frequently, do you bother where the food is coming from? All you care about is the quality, quantity, price and delivery time. So Swiggy(a food delivery app in India), released a feature called Swiggy POP, where they curated single serve meals from various restaurants near by for cheaper price. It’s a great problem solver. Number of options reduced, people started taking decisions much faster than usual.
A neuroscientist Antonio Damasio during his study revealed, people often find it difficult to make simple decisions, such as what to eat, even though they could describe what they should be doing in logical or rational terms. For most of the decisions, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact, even with what we believe are rational or logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably based on emotion. And without a real emotion, we cannot create a habit, and without a habit, there is no sustainable model.
Companies that form strong user habits enjoy several benefits. These companies attach their product to internal triggers in the form of decisions. As a result, users show up without any external prompting. Hence, as a designer, this is the area that we must tap to our advantage in guiding users to desirable actions in our products. Not by manipulating them, but by creating a true & meaningful user experience.