Skill Level Appropriate for all
- [Instructor] Hi I'm Jill Butler and this is Universal Principles of Design. In this movie, Nudge, or the art and architecture of choice making. If you're a woman and have never ventured into a public men's restroom, you may be mercifully unaware of a design defect with wall-mounted urinals. Or perhaps the defect is with male attention span. But whatever the case, the problem, simply stated, is spillage. That is, when men use these urinals they often miss or there's splash back which creates a mess on the floor, which creates an unpleasant experience for the next person who's forced to stand in it.
Yes it's gross and it's a problem that's been around as long as there have been restrooms. Now, you may have noticed that I refer to this as a design defect of the urinal. Why a design defect? Well, if getting and keeping urine in the urinal is a design requirement, then urinals are clearly not getting the job done. If you think this is an unfair design requirement then consider the ingenious design of the men's restrooms at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
In the wall mounted urinals, etched into the porcelain, is an image of a black house fly near the drain. Now why, you might ask, would somebody bother to do this? According to Aad Kieboom, the man who proposed the design, it improves the aim. If a man sees a fly, he aims at it, and as crazy as that might sound, it turns out that research on spillage bears out Mr. Kieboom's prediction. Spillage was reduced by 80% near the urinals with the fly.
This example was popularized by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their Book, Nudge. The design principles in this movie are drawn from their book and if you haven't read it, it's great, I highly recommend it, and no doubt, because of this book's popularity all manner of targets are finding their way into male urinals. From pictures of Bankers during the Icelandic banking crisis, to rival University logos, to actual targets, to soccer goals. As they say, we're only limited by our imaginations.
But it is worth noting that the spillage reduction strategy goes back more than a hundred years. There were, for example, urinals made as early as 1880 with ornate targets like birds, bees, and flowers. The point is that small and seemingly insignificant tweaks to a design can significantly change the way in which people interact with it. And the most powerful of these tweaks, are called nudges. A nudge is a method of modifying behavior without restricting options or changing incentives.
Nudges employ six basic strategies. Number one, smart defaults. Smart defaults mean that when there are clear best options, you make these options the default selections. Best options are options that do minimal harm and bring about the greatest good. This of course gets a little tricky. Best options for whom? The answer should always be the chooser. For example, it's common practice for services to require users to opt out of receiving promotions and updates.
This is a bad nudge because it's what the businesses want but not generally what their customers want. So contrast this with an online banking default that requires users to opt out of receiving alerts about suspicious account activity. This is a good nudge because most customers do want to be alerted if their account is being hacked. Number two, clear feedback. Clear feedback means providing clear goals and visible performance feedback for actions relative to those goals.
For example, in an energy conservation experiment in California, households were given feedback on their power usage via an emoji. A happy face, if power consumption was below certain thresholds, and a sad face, if power consumption was above that threshold, and the result? Dramatic reductions in energy use. Just by providing clear feedback on energy use with gentle iconic nudging. Number three, aligned incentives.
Aligned incentives means aligning incentives to preferred behaviors and avoiding incentive conflicts. For example, everyone agrees that there is a cost to society when companies pollute the environment. The reality is that as long as polluting the environment is the least expensive way to dispose of waste, many companies are going to keep doing it that way. They are, in effect, incentivized to do it. So we can try to pass laws and punish polluters, but the better way would be to simply tax pollutants.
This incentivizes companies to seek less polluting alternatives, and it reimburses governments for the typically hidden costs of cleanup and healthcare. Number four, structured choices. Structured choices means providing the means to simplify and filter complexity to facilitate decision-making. For example, sites like Amazon and Netflix offer their customers access to thousands, if not millions of products.
Truly overwhelming, and that's why they make recommendations based on popularity, genre, past behaviors, and favorites of other customers with similar buying or watching behaviors. Number five, error mitigation. Error mitigation means designing processes and products that assume people will make errors along the way. For example, people fueling their vehicles sometimes forget to put the gas cap back on before driving away.
Usually because they get distracted paying or putting air in their tires. More warning stickers will not fix this and more documentation in the owner's manual will not fix this. But a locking gas cap that attaches to a key until the gas cap is returned, will fix it, every time. Number six, good mappings. Good mappings means enabling users to accurately predict the consequences of their actions. In control layout design, a popular example is stove top controls.
This stove top shows bad mapping because the layout makes it tough to predict which control corresponds to which burner or hub. And this stove top illustrates good mapping where the relationship between controls and burners is cleared up. Now sometimes casinos and other gaming systems will intentionally use bad mapping to disguise and conceal how much money patrons are actually spending. Token economies, point systems, and debit cards are all used to this effect.
So whether you use nudges to improve the decision-making of your colleagues and customers, to modify behavior without being punitive or taking away choice, or to simply reduce the cleanup required in public restrooms. Remember to consider the art and architecture of choice making in your designs.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.