Learning about nudges

March 01, 2019

tl;dr I’m doing a lot of research about nudges lately and it’s crazy how digital environments can influence you and your decisions.

Interesting times! A ton of cool projects at work and at the same time something super interesting at university. And this is something I want to share with you. I’m doing some scientific work now in one of my last courses. Yep, I know… all this scientific stuff can sometimes be a bit boring, but not this time! Oh boy. Because I’m digging into a topic that is fascinating as hell! It’s all about nudges in digital environments. So, what’s a nudge you’re asking yourself right now? Don’t get lost, I’ll help you out. Nudges are basically little things in an interface that influence the decision of a user. Let’s make an example here. In the checkout process, Amazon has no back button. So you’re basically nudged into the direction of completing your purchase. Booking.com shows you how many people are looking at the hotel at the same time, so it feels scarce and you really want to have it.

I’m currently doing a ton of research for a literature review here and one thing is for sure. Nudges are everywhere. There are so many things that take place in the world of choice architecture. Things from psychology, behavioral economics, human-computer interaction and of course user interface design. Four big forms of nudges are used in most digital environments nowadays: visual design, interaction design, interface elements, and language. And if you take a closer look, you can’t unsee it. Everywhere are some options that a visual more emphasized as other elements. The flow of the application pushes you in a specific direction. The elements themselves influence your choice (just think of radio buttons vs. checkboxes). Or the writing and the language tries to influence you.

Of course, there are some dark patterns of nudges. And a lot of companies try to nudge the user in a way that is best for the business. But let me say you something. User satisfaction is always more important than conversions. Just think in the long run. Nudges are such an interesting topic and I’m doing a lot with them right now! So there will definitely be more updates to follow! In the meantime …

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