Rob Girling published a very insightful article for Fast Co Design yesterday, arguing how our increased ability to encourage people to make better choices should be viewed as a social responsibility.
It stems from a fact that designers have long known in theory but are only just beginning to see the full and subtle implications of. It’s that people don’t make rational choices based solely on the information to hand, no matter how convincing. Subtle emotional or psychological cues can often determine someone’s decision, regardless of the data.
“Designers are beginning to understand how irrational thinking plays into the decisions people make. That knowledge can be used to openly influence consumers to make responsible choices.”
What’s really refreshing is that Rob Girling is talking about using the psychology of design to do something good. Something I have noticed is that the people with selfish and often damaging interests are more adept at the more subtle points of persuasion (because they have to be to get what they want). I agree with Rob. If people want to contribute to positive change they not only need to state the facts, they need to consider irrational thinking too. And if there’s anyone that should be able to do that, it’s designers. We are human beings after all.
Read the mentioned article at Fast Co Design here