Persuasive Design

A Discussion

Persuasive design, is not an art – although it might ultimately produce something artistic it is very much about science – in particular the science of humans.

The image is picture of random notes I took from a persuasive design session and I wanted to call out some of the key elements that really struck me. Having worked in digital and been playing around with UX for years now I thought I had a grasp of most things. What the session showed me was that I knew theory but hadn’t been practically applying it – in part because I didn’t have the right proof for discussion.

1: Framing

The what, why, how model – how do we frame the proposition. The classic ‘For Sale’ doesn’t hold the weight it once used to in a cluttered market place. How goes a little further providing evidence – a re-assurance piece or at least the perception of quality / rigour / creativity has gone into the final product. It is why that makes the difference. This taps into the values – gives the reason to buy from him not them – remembering the product is the manifestation of the brand. Framing this on-page can be in multiple ways, the design trend for this year includes screen-width lifestyle images often in two tone – this is highly evocative and emotional – tapping into why not what.

2: Anchoring

The classic understood principle for all customer insight specialists is that what a customer says and does are often different. Anchoring is tapping into the basic wiring of us human beings – ranging from aspirational to fear of loss (‘Final sale today only’). An example of anchoring would be putting the product you really want purchased next to a premium version at a higher cost and above the basic version. Listing out the attributes with premium typically showing only 1 or 2 additional benefits customers will naturally incline to the middle product (the one you wanted them to purchase) and discount the basic version.


The DUPE model are ‘4 reasons to’ on a customers journey and things to address from a design perspective:
Desirable – ‘I might like this’ (think of aspirational models of luxury brands)
Usable – ‘Can see this being something I could use’ (social proofing of other customers using it)
Persuasive – ‘I will have this’ (fear of loss, reason to being created)
Emotional – ‘I’d love to have this’ (becomes a value item that goes beyond use to meaning)

We need to start applying theory and that is where, from my experience, rigorously working through UX frameworks, (in particular with digital propositions) prototyping has brought this into practice. A great site is Design with Intent which helps do just that.

And if you are looking for an agency – I would recommend Bunnyfoot who have advised me on a number of different propositions to drive real value to the customer and the business.

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