4 April 2007

More and less: Designing for high-stakes decisions

Be the first to share

More and less
We all want options, but when does having choices prevent us from finding solutions? Dmitri Siegel looks at how people make important decisions and how design can help.

“Freedom of choice is such an unassailable value in America that it is considered a solution in and of itself to social ills, from failing schools to the insolvency of social security. As a society, we view choice as the manifestation of our most exalted ideal: freedom. The value we place on decisiveness was reflected in President Bush’s assertion, “I’m the decider. I make the decisions. The proliferation of choice can have unexpectedly negative consequences. Expanding the number of options often comes at the cost of finding solutions. Nowhere is this trend more evident than online—and the stakes have never been higher. Increasingly, our most significant decisions—such as whether or not to have a medical procedure or how to best to plan for retirement—are being made using web-based applications. As it turns out, many are poorly suited to helping us sort through the ever-growing range of possibilities. So why do these interfaces so often fail us when we need them most? And what unique challenges are there in designing systems that help us make high-stakes decisions?”

Siegel then goes on to describe that there are two types of decision-makers — maximizers and satisficers — and how one of the two types are generally happier. He also illustrates how human beings are not wired to make rational decisions.

So what does that mean for designers?

“The striking thing about most research being done on how design can help enable meaningful decision-making is that it often requires stepping back from specific design problems in order to focus on the question of what to design rather than how to design. Refocusing the mission of design can bring valuable insights into how to make information more useful, and useful information more accessible.”

The article ends with a discussion of recent books by John Maeda and Peter Morville and current research at Philips Design.

Dmitri Siegel is the Art Director for urbanoutfitters.com. He is also creative director of Ante and Anathema magazines. He teaches at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Read full article

Be the first to share
22 July 2016
[Book] Overcomplicated (or when systems go feral)
Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman Current (Penguin Randomhouse), July 2016 256 pages Abstract Why did the New York Stock Exchange suspend trading without warning on July 8, 2015? Why did certain Toyota vehicles accelerate uncontrollably …
22 July 2016
A nudge toward participation: Improving clinical trial enrollment with behavioral economics
A nudge toward participation: Improving clinical trial enrollment with behavioral economics Eric M. VanEpps, Kevin G. Volpp and Scott D. Halpern (University of Pennsylvania) Science Translational Medicine - 20 Jul 2016 Vol. 8, Issue 348, pp. 348fs13 Interventions informed …
18 July 2016
Design research at the New York Times
The pressure to anticipate an audience’s needs and desires is intense—no longer only of concern to business sides of media organizations but a part of the editorial mission, writes Heather Chaplin in the Columbia Journalism …
11 July 2016
[Book] LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation
LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation Edited by Mariana Amatullo, with Bryan Boyer, Liz Danzico and Andrew Shea Published by Designmatters at ArtCenter College of Design July 2016, 360 pages The professional landscape for design in …
22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project
Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions …
21 June 2016
‘Big data is people!’
The sum of our clickstreams is not an objective measure of who we are, but a personal portrait of our hopes and desires, argues Rebecca Lemov, associate professor of the history of science at Harvard …
17 June 2016
Remember the people: The foundation for success in 21st C infrastructure
Infrastructure providers are used to focusing on issues of project selection, funding, and regulation. The most successful firms are learning to provide great consumer experiences too. "The consumer experience matters. Infrastructure providers therefore need to …
15 June 2016
Six recent articles from UXMatters
UXMatters has a new design and this seems to have benefited the quality as well, as there are more inspiring articles than ever. Here my pick: June 14 edition Algorithms as the New Material of Design A column …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

1 March 2016
Singapore’s main newspaper on Experientia’s design with the elderly

Arti Mulchand reports in the Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, on Experientia’s “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project: Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic. Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with […]

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

See all articles