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
8 May 2017
Why service design is the new black — Intel’s Todd Harple on fashion tech
The world of fashion is becoming increasingly digital — and not just wearable devices, but with clothing made from fabrics that actually integrate sensors and technology that can monitor and measure the wearer. As fashion starts to …
28 April 2017
Global study: Leading companies bet on customer experience
A new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reveals that customer experience is vital for business success, and establishes social media as the foundation for customer experience. The survey, which includes 600+ leaders from the …
28 April 2017
[Book] Quantitative Ethnography
Quantitative Ethnography David Williamson Shaffer Boswell Press Available April 2017 > Download Introduction > Watch video presentation This is a book about understanding why, in the digital age, the old distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research methods, between the sciences and …
22 April 2017
Boston’s human-centered research to design middle-income housing
In Boston, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is conducting ethnographic, human-centered research to design middle-income housing that reflects people’s lived experiences, reports the Stanford Social Innovation Review. This includes intensive planning sessions in …
21 April 2017
ONE Design: a portal on Adaptive Path’s work with Capital One Bank
ONE Design is a content portal where Capital One, the eighth-largest bank in the United States, shares (many) inspiring stories of how their Adaptive Path designers "impact lives with humanity, simplicity, ingenuity - and empower …
11 April 2017
[Book] Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population: Towards Universal Design
Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population: Towards Universal Design By Jeff Johnson and Kate Finn Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, March 2017 258 pages > First chapter Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population: Towards Universal Design presents age-friendly design guidelines …
8 April 2017
Jeremy Myerson on how social challenges can catalyse design-led innovation in industry
In this recent talk at the RCA in London, writer and academic Jeremy Myerson explores how social challenges can catalyse design-led innovation in industry. Rather than seeing such issues as ageing populations, growing healthcare needs …
8 April 2017
Service design at the Singapore Government
Jacqueline Poh, CEO of Singapore's GovTech agency, spoke about the importance of a service design approach at the Innovation by Design Conference 2017, held from 7-8 March as part of Singapore Design Week. Whether or not …

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.

31 March 2017
Experientia guide to Milan Design Week 2017

It’s that time of year again – Milan’s don’t-miss event for the design community is here. If you’re looking to get inspired at Milan Design Week, then check out our top picks for the latest edition, from Experientia’s designers, strategists and partners. Milan might be best known for its busy streets, traditional cafés and world […]

12 January 2017
Experientia’s CITYOPT project awarded prestigious French award for its sustainable development design

Following the 2016 Smart Innovation Award at “FIMBACTE Trophées du Cadre de vie”, the CITYOPT project has once again been recognized, this time in the prestigious French design competition: “Observeur du Design 2017”, in the Service Design category. In June 2016, CITYOPT won the first stage of the Observeur du Design. Now the project has […]

1 December 2016
More on upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Last month Putting People First announced the upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities in Nice France. Meanwhile we are pleased to announce the full event agenda (see below). This event will feature professionals from leading research institutes and industry gathering to present key initiatives which combine Energy Efficiency and Service Design […]

29 October 2016
Upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Invitation to the International Conference on Design & Sustainable Innovation for SmartCities Nice (France) 8 December 2016 On the 8th December 2016, the CITYOPT project will host an international conference on Design and sustainable innovation for SmartCities, at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen, France. An open invitation to attend is offered to people and organisations who […]

28 October 2016
Experientia’s President, Michele Visciòla, panel judge for MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition

The 100&Change is an international competition and a landmark opportunity for thinkers and designers to tackle critical challenges affecting the world. Michele Visciòla will be one of the panel of expert judges who will select which project is worthy of the $100 million grant. 100&Change is the MacArthur Foundation competition – launched this year for […]

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

See all articles