Home, Blog index

Reading three books at once & subconscious influence
2010-07-29: I love reading different books at the same time, it shows up real contrasts, ideas and helps me question what I'm reading.
For instance, I've just reviewed a page from Ambient Findability while also reading Influence: Science and Practice.
In Ambient Findability, he runs us through the online buying process for a digital camera, telling us how fabulous it is that we have access to so much information before making our choice. How we can select cameras by their megapixel range, how we can weigh manufacturers' claims against customer reviews. How we can check Epinions, CNET and Consumer Reports (presumably an American swapout for Which?).
Want to know how I bought my camera, which I'm really happy with? I looked at the recommended digital SLR in PC Pro and bought that one. I delegated the decision to someone else who is interested, someone with the skills and motivation to decide.
Choice is a stopper, a confuser. According to Caldini (author of the Influence book above), as the amount of information grows and the demands on our time increase, our need for shortcuts increases. In fact, he all but says we act like turkeys. Apparently they will take care of any bundle of fluff that makes the right cheep cheep noises. Their shortcut is the sound of their chicks. If it cheeps right, it's a chick, I'll mother it. The turkey's brain is then free to consider weightier matters.
Laugh. Absolutely. But basically what he says is we've built a world so complex, we do the same thing. We need our shortcuts or we'd be paralysed by the weight of choice and options available to us. Watch your brain go into meltdown every time you enter a supermarket. That's done deliberately. Watch your choices. They are turkey-brain automatic choices .. we always buy that brand, etc. How many times do you look to the top or bottom shelf for perhaps more rational (better value) products? How many times do you fully consider all the information available to you? You don't. It's all shortcuts.
I haven't the time to weigh up options about which is the best SLR. Will it take good pics? Yes. Fine, here's £500 now let me get on with my day.
So, who is right?
My take is that if you are a hobbyist, you'll take the time to pore over the SLR choices in the camera porn magazines, maybe taking months to work out which model you want because you enjoy doing that .. dreaming about your next purchase is part of your hobby.
Things like cars, holidays and houses get some consideration too .. major purchases. Even then, not always. Moving home .. might be automatic if we are following a job. A new partner .. that's almost certainly going to be a long-considered decision.
Otherwise, things are probably more automatic than we like to think. According to Neuro Web Design this belief we have that we take rational decisions is in the most part a feel good invention of our conscious minds. Most decisions are taken before we become aware of them, hence the importance of the first impression. Rationality just adds reasons around what our subconscious already decided in order to make us feel better.
All of which means, if you design websites right: incorporating things like social proof and scarcity and including things that appeal to the different levels of consciousness you can get more people to buy more stuff from you instead of the other guys.
I'm not saying we should just ramp up all those triggers. It has to be part of the brand, and it has to be true. But used responsibly and professionally, deliberately adding subconscious, automatic buying triggers to a website can make a real difference. I'll be giving you some real-life examples in later blogs.

By John Allsopp
Next: The very beginnings of a blog index - Back to blog list

Tweet this page Tweet this blog Share this blog Share Bookmark this blog Bookmark

blog comments powered by Disqus