Saturday, 2 April 2016

Professor HOK at NID : Persuasive System Design

Professor Harri Oinas Kokkunen visited the National Institute of Design on April 1, 2016. Harri Oinas-Kukkonen is Professor of information systems at the Department of Information Processing Science, University of Oulu. He has a strong background regarding various aspects of information systems and digital media both as a practitioner and in academia.

He is a jolly fellow and spent the better part of the morning visiting the Vavs (stepwells) in Ahmedabad. On first thought, Persuasive System Design seems like a complicated term but after the talk, we felt we understood some pieces of the puzzle.

All new technologies that are being developed imitate the web for e.g. the ATM machine UI. Our contemporary web is already social and mobile yet it is far from being a 'frozen' technology. The web as a platform is still in its beginning yet it can be viewed as a transformer and humanizer. Companies have a huge responsibility on their shoulders as they need to encourage people outside their payroll to use their ecosystem, hence the ecosystem needs to be designed carefully. UI is moving towards being more intuitive and natural. For instance, notifications that you need to exercise daily can be annoying if the time is not right. Yet people love to gt rewards when they complete an exercise plan. What could be the solution here?

The PSD model:

1) Persuasion postulates: How can design affect behavior? Is complete behavior change required or do we need to just create nudges?

2) Persuasive features

3) IT is never neutral. It has practical applications. People like their views of the world to be organized as consistent.

4) Direct and indirect routes are key persuasion strategies.

5) Persuasive systems should be both useful and easy to use. There is a difference between usability and usefulness and that certainly need to be taken into account.

6) Persuasion through a persuasive system must always be unobtrusive to a user's primary tasks. It should make users WANT to change. A counter argument is that some people do not want to be persuaded. An example in the non digital world is that in Disneyland, the waiters recommend families to buy the cheapest alcohol. This is because people save up for years to get that experience of Disneyland and thus, Disneyland feels that people should get to experience the place in entirety. Even if they buy cheap alcohol, they would feel confident of making the choice if the wwaiter himself recommends it.

7) Persuasion through persuasive systems should always be transparent.

The session ended with a question answer session and by then most of us had reached our full saturation point. His work area is surely very interesting and since he has been in this field for long and is highly experienced, he answered our questions in detail. He has co-authored a book with his brother - Humanizing the Web which I hope will further answer your queries.