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5.0 out of 5 stars Very true, powerful, and frighteningly effective,
I ordered this book on the basis it looked like it could be an interesting read, offering an insight into human nature. What I found was far more than I expected, a look into the darker aspects of our nature and how it can be (and often is) used against us by companies who will gladly take advantage of our every weakness in order to part us from our hard-earned money, our free time, whatever they can get to turn a profit.
The seven deadly sins are, by their very nature, a religious construct. If you don't believe in any gods the concept of sin may seem irrelevant. But look past your views on religion, whatever they may be. The seven deadly sins give a highlight into human nature. When we're growing up our parents tell us not to eat all the chocolate in one sitting but never tell us not to have another portion of broccoli or Brussels sprouts. The reason is pretty clear - most children would eat as much chocolate as they could but few would eat an entire plateful of broccoli. So it is with these seven deadly sins - they pretty much describe the way most of us are, albeit our own weaknesses will represent some combination of these sins.
Many of us would be reluctant to share our address books with web sites, and maybe that's for a good reason. Making it a required stage of the registration process would almost certainly result in lots of people mysteriously having very few friends. Making it an optional stage of registration and making the user's profile show, very publicly, that they have "completed 85% of their registration" (while letting them know that the remaining 15% is to "suggest other people who might enjoy the web site") results in the sense of pride (ding - one of the deadly sins) kicking in because people dislike leaving things unfinished and dislike others seeing they started but never finished.
Sloth gets us in all sorts of ways. How many people actually read the terms and conditions before signing up to a new membership? How many read the terms of business before buying online? Who knows what nasty clauses are in there? The answer is very few - most people just can't be bothered. Make the desired progression through the site clear and obvious, hide the terms and conditions behind a dull grey link, and most people won't make the effort to know what they are getting into.
What about envy? Look at the sites out there that award gold stars to people. Call the gold stars whatever takes your fancy - it might be a fancy title, it might be a bit of recognition, but it's nothing of any practical value. Now you can play on both pride and envy - pride at being top of the leaderboard, envy that someone else has more virtual stars than you have, and people spend their lives providing free content to commercial providers in the hope of getting that coveted top spot.
The book covers each of the seven deadly sins in turn, looking at ways they can be used against us. As it unravels human nature it provides an ever-deeper insight into just how easy it can be to manipulate people into doing what you want them to do, by appealing to the darker sides of their nature. Yet all the time the options are there, people are free to choose to read the endless terms and conditions, they are free to compare every single product with every single other product, they are free to log off and do something else, but the choices are presented in such a way that the "right" choice is the easiest one to make.
Heck, you can even look at Amazon and wonder just why that "top 500 reviewer" tag exists. What other reason would people spend reviewing so many products? I can even look back at this review I just wrote, ask what I stand to gain from it, and wonder whether my own sense of pride is at work.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wicked!,
"Evil By Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us Into Temptation", by Chris Nodder, is one of those books that could easily pay for itself several times over. Although the book is targeted principally at designers of commercial web pages, the book isn't just about web design; it is also about human psychology and how that can best be turned to commercial gain. Organised over seven chapters (one for each of the famous deadly sins) the book focuses on human weaknesses that can be exploited time and time again to draw potential customers in to commercial web pages, prevent them from navigating to the pages of competitors, convince them to commit to purchases and to keep them coming back for more. In short, the book exposes and explains the tricks that are the key to success in today's on-line marketplace.
Even if you have no interest in become a web designer yourself, you will undoubtedly be a consumer of web pages -- how else would you be reading this review? As such, you therefore subject to the exploitative techniques described in this book -- and this includes areas of the web that you wouldn't necessarily think of as commercial in nature, such as Foursquare and Facebook. Easily readable and understandable by all, this book could well open your eyes to the traps and pitfalls that web designers are now routinely laying before you to part you from your cash, to convince you to buy something you didn't want and have no need for, whilst at the same time getting you to give your time and effort to persuade others to do the same. And yes, you will find Amazon featured in its pages.
If it strikes you that this book is potentially shooting itself in the foot by undermining the effectiveness of the techniques it demonstrates by exposing them to a previously ignorant public who, once aware of the tricks will no longer fall for them, the author assures his commercially oriented readers that nothing could be further from the truth. Study after study has demonstrated that even when people are made aware of the ways in which they can be played, they will still happily play along. If you think this makes it sound like the web is a wicked, deceiving place, then you'd almost certainly be right; Chris Nodder protects his own immortal soul by declining actually to go as far as to advocate any of the techniques he describes, instead warning designers that they'll have to make their own ethical choices along the way. I suppose too, he is at least also doing his bit towards levelling the playing field somewhat... even if none of us actually chooses to be warned away!
Recommended; a book everyone should read and learn from!
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight,
This book provides a fascinating insight into the psychology behind the influencing of peoples decision making on a daily basis. From altering shopping habits and choices to getting people to change their long held beliefs and opinions, this book covers it all.
The author explains that we are all being manipulated, by clever design, marketing or peer and social pressure into doing or believing a whole range of things. The methods used to achieve this often exploit our weaknesses such as greed, pride, lust, envy and sloth as well as emotions of fear, excitement and joy. The idea is that, by understanding how we are being manipulated, we should be better prepared to resist temptations or even to use the knowledge gained to our own advantage in business and everyday life.
At present I am about half way through reading this book and am thoroughly enjoying it. It is well written, not too heavy, with pictures to illustrate some of the points made.
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful for web designers and marketing people,
I think we all know that advertisers and marketeers play on our weaknesses to encourage us to buy their product. Websites are no exception. This book is a useful summary of the techniques and processes by which people can be encouraged to interact with your site more.
Andy Maslen is a copywriter and it's through his books I first learnt about using the 7 deadly sins in marketing. I love how this books takes the theme further. I am using some of these principles in a current site redesign and am having a lot of fun with it.
This book is a valuable addition for marketers and site designers who want to understand the psychology of decisions and yes, learn to manipulate them in others!
A lot of the information here is iterated on various blogs online (problogger, copyblogger and ramit sethi for example) - but this blog puts everthing together in one place and gives a lot more besides.
A very handy and useful read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Design your website with user motivations in mind,
This review is from: Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation (Kindle Edition)
I have read the paper version of this book (I still do that sometimes!) and it is an examplar of the design vices explored in the book; I just had to read it all. I might question the morals of using 7 deadly sins as the basis of exploring the motivations that drive website usage, but it works tremendously well. Do not mistake this book as in anyway frivolous, it explores the latest research in user motivations and explains how this can be used to drive successful website design.
The author's inspiration and years of experience ooze out of the insightful and clearly laid out techniques and this is illustrated effectively through the real-life examples provided.
The motivation factors explored in this book will provide every designer with that extra competitive edge which is essential in today's cut-throat internet environment.
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting psychological approach to web design,
I was not expecting much when I ordered this book but I ordered it on the strength of the description and as I'm a UX Designer, the subject matter is obviously of interest. I wasn't disappointed.
To sum up the book, it offers a good and detailed insight into persuasive design with the aim of encouraging the user to interact and stay on your website. It uses the concept of the 7 deadly sins in its approach which is a fun new approach to what would otherwise be a dull academic approach. In that regard the book succeeds and is a delight to read. As a UX Designer this stuff isn't necessarily new but it does convey the subject matter very well so is good for any level of web designer.
I highly recommend this book as a UX Design professional.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and enjoyable,
This book is well laid-out, very easy on the eye, and manages to combine sleek looks with some really engaging content. It uses the theme of the seven deadly sins to show how design can tempt users of graphic interfaces - you may learn something about how you've been manipulated by good design, as well as how to implement these techniques yourself. The section on 'Envy', for example, gives ways to make products desirable and inspire envy in consumers so that they will covet things. Every section is illustrated with real-life examples so that you can see the practical applications of the various techniques. All in all, this is a great book, and a must-read for anyone who wants to use design as a tool of persuasion.
4.0 out of 5 stars Creative take on the issue,
So many books on interaction design focus on the nuts and bolts, with scant (if any) attention paid to the phenomenal importance of underlying user motivations. This book addresses that imbalance by talking about the key element in encouraging engagement with technology - optimizing benefit and minimizing costs. I think it could have spent a bit more time on the academic fundamentals of the psychology, but that's mainly because that's what I found most interesting. Nonetheless, as an antidote to the countless rigorous, methodological and 'po-faced' books on the subject, it's great and I recommend it heartily.
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual,
I was fascinated by this book when it arrived as it is so different. However, it s beyond my requirements so I have lent it to my step son who is into branding and website design. There is a great deal of interest in the book and he has yet to give me his final feedback. However, he likes the way it is written and constructed and comments that it has some great concepts.
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not an evil read,
It's really nice to find a book that helps get to the 'why's' of doing the things user experience professionals do. It's really well laid out, easy to understand and a really great read. I'd recommend it to all of you who work in a digital profession and want to know a bit more about interaction design (and the 'magic' tricks we use).
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Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation by Chris Nodder