Interaction 09: Irrational Behavior

by Luke Wroblewski February 8, 2009

Robert Fabricant’s Irrational Behavior keynote at Interaction 09 argued that since behavior is the medium of interaction design, problems that result from behaviors are problems for interaction designers to solve.

  • Interaction Design is about more than computing technology. It’s about making things more suitable for human use.
  • Technology is not our medium, behavior is.
  • Most interaction designers are infatuated with data visualization in order to reveal what people are doing through visual means.
  • “Functionalism is only half the battle, the way you elicit engagement and interest from people is to appeal to their aesthetic sensibilities.”
  • We need things in our devices that motivate us to use them.
  • Old model: tracking, measurement, analysis –does not fulfill our emotional needs.
  • Can designs tap into perception to take advantage of unconscious behaviors?
  • Personal, abrupt, immoral, now –these are things that trigger responses from us. We need to create immediate representations that are immediately salient and do not require deep analysis.
  • We can create aspirational behaviors through comparisons to other behaviors.
  • Motivators in social behavior: create pledges within your social circle; provide reinforcements for commitments
  • Market exchanges vs. social exchanges. Meters interact with us as consumers. A lot of exchanges are dominated by a sense of market value.
  • New model: immediacy & influence & impact
  • Behavior that requires an immediate response. When we create a meter or data visualization –it helps reveal the impact of something but does not motivate people to act.
  • How do we measure the impact of what we do? We need a way to define behavioral impact.
  • Outputs: things that you produce
  • Outcome: what people do as a result of what you produce
  • Impact: the changes that occur as a result of outcomes
  • Understanding is important but it has to lead to a change in behavior.
  • Sustainability is a problem of behavior. Therefore, it is an interaction design problem. We need to commit ourselves to solving the problem through impact not just outcomes.