Web 2.0 Expo NY: Chris Fahey’s “The Seduction of the Interface”

I was particularly excited to see my friend Chris Fahey from Behavior Design speak at Web 2.0 Expo NY this week. When I saw him speak for the first time at the IA Summit in Miami, I was really impressed with his delivery. This was his first time giving this talk, but you wouldn’t have known it from the audience. As you might have guessed from the title of my blog, pleasure is a particular interest of mine and I was thrilled to hear Chris liken seduction to user experience design. He said some really poignant things that I hope to build on in the future.

My Twitter notes from the session:

  • Do you believe in love at first sight? @askrom fell in love at first sight w his wife, not so much for her. It takes time, seduction
  • Traditions of product merchandising from history are applicable to the web-centric design we do now
  • Pretty even split of designers and marketers in the audience
  • Merchandising: strategy of how the product is presented to customers as they decide to purchase
  • 3 points of merchandising: Selling contexts, packaging, products that sell themselves
  • Selling contexts: psychology of how we shop. Referencing butt-brush effect in “Why We Buy” by Paco Underhill
  • E-commerce selling context innovations: automated recommendations, wish lists, “people like you bought”, robust UI product previews
  • Packaging: Leggs pantyhose in 1970s came in plastic eggs. Branded the item. Today, Apple packaging part of the user experience
  • Packaging= selling context? Once you buy, there’s no box anymore. Like @37signals or Flickr, you never see mktg page once you use it
  • Products that sell themselves: seductive qualities need to be built into product. Referencing Henry Dreyfuss, “Designing for People”
  • His definition of designer is: Liaison linking management, marketing, consumer
  • Beyond merchandising: designers have to be responsible for the sales of their products. Marketing vs. design, always bumping heads
  • On Web 2.0 products, designers are responsible for marketing, too. Monetization opportunities all throughout the design.
  • Design: everything from interaction design, IA, visual design, graphic design, copywriting — all aspects of user experience
  • Web-centric: broad category of products/services hosted on the web but can desktop apps, mobile apps, etc
  • UX is so integral to the pleasure of the product that it’s necessary in order to sell it. Sensory experiences. YAY FOR PLEASURE!
  • Brain designed to seek pleasure. Don Norman, “Emotional Design”: “Attractive things work better” This is right up my alley @askrom!
  • You don’t see ads for web-based products that tout the pleasure like you would for cigarettes. “Alive with pleasure! Twitter!”
  • People know about these products from other people and by trying it out and using it. They need to get a taste of it.
  • Subscription-based product models, vibrant communities around and within products, fully-functional trials, free to use
  • Conversion on the web is a zero-sum model. Either you’ve converted them or not. But seduction about more than having hitting submit
  • Conversion model is totally out of date. It’s now about falling in love with the product. A soft sell, not a hard sell. Connection
  • 3 stages of seduction: inspire attention, interest and desire; draw them in; capture their ongoing devotion
  • 1) “choose your victim”. Archetypes. Yahoo!’s Competitive Spectrum: caring, collaborative, cordial, competitive, combative
  • @askrom going over personas, but my brain doesn’t want to process it :)
  • 2) “make the first move”. Use motion (animation, video demos), words (speak to user, tell them what to do), careful with audio
  • “Tell the users what to do. Be forceful. Be assertive. Be an aggressive lover.” — @askrom
  • http://silverbackapp.com/ created mystery around its product pre-launch. Limited explanation on the page
  • 3) “appear desirable” Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. Testimonials from real users. Ppl want to know you’re an experienced lover
  • 4) “flatter them” 5) “tempt them” Give a peek of what’s inside
  • Draw Them In (or lead astray, which is what seduction really means). “Seduction of the Innocent” by Frederic Wertham
  • Imbue designs with a sense of fantasy. Have a sense of humor. Tick time-management, copy uses clever phrases
  • Be stylish. People don’t want to feel out of date. They want to be part of what’s new. “Make it look Web 2.0” means something
  • Capture their ongoing devotion: no about conversion anymore. It’s about ongoing connection. Nike+ ecosystem of products
  • The real win with Nike+ isn’t buying it ($30), it’s the tracking that happens over time, sharing your results through widgets
  • Goals, scenarios, paths. Sketch it out. Define pathways. Identify opportunities for delight. Citing Brandon Schauer’s The Long Wow
  • Evaluate w psychology & emotion. Understand yourself. What type of seducer are you? Scholar, show-off, sneak, romantic, best friend
  • Seduction: not about sex (instead love and togetherness), user-centric (engaging in conversation), journey (steps), proactive..
  • Don’t be squeamish about it. Seduction no longer the exclusive responsibility of “the marketing people.” It’s a design job. So do it

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