Two Interaction Design Books I Read in The First Month of 2014

Two Interaction Design books, “Evil by Design” by Chris Nodder and “Microinteractions” by Dan Saffer, have been sitting in my iBooks library for a while. I was deliberately waiting for a holiday, so I can read them in peace and without any distractions around. And, boy, was I glad I did so!

Have you ever wondered about the relationship between marketing and the seven deadly sins described in the Bible? What helps trigger an online purchase or aid the conversion on a website? Does it have anything to do with the way our wires are put together the impulses (read urges) we receive? If you haven’t, “Evil by Design” will show you the way. It is a book about what marketers do to push the user’s buttons and give in to the sin. It is an exciting way to approach design and benchmark it against something as fundamental as the Christian world’s basic laws.

The psychology of persuasion is a great part of selling something. And this all is well illustrated in 57 design patterns around the 7 sins:

Pride. Use social proof to position your product in line with your visitors’ values.

Sloth. Build a path of least resistance that leads users where you want them to go.

Gluttony. Escalate customers’ commitment and use loss aversion to keep them there.

Anger. Understand the power of metaphysical arguments and anonymity.

Envy. Create a culture of status around your product and feed aspirational desires.

Lust. Turn desire into commitment by using emotion to defeat rational behaviour.

Greed. Keep customers engaged by reinforcing the behaviours you desire.

Rings a bell? It certainly did so to me. Chris Nodder makes the connection in such an intriguing style that one can hardly leave the book down. I immediately started “Evil by Design” book to my friends and colleagues.

On the other hand, “Microinteractions” is a book about the subtle and rarely recognized by users existence of tiny pointers that let them know what’s happening while using a product. Whether it is the blinking red light on their Android device telling them there is a missed call, the microwave’s buzzer ringing loud and announcing that dinner is ready, how do you know that you have received a message or that the lift has arrived on your floor, microinteractions are established.

Dan Saffer describes the process and gives designers pointers how to create these little moments, effortlessly and eloquently. He goes through the different kinds of microinteractions Triggers, Rules, Feedback, and Loops and Modes and puts them all together at the very end through examples.

Both interaction design books should be in every marketer, designer or product manager’s library. And moreover, they should be read and reread.

I’ve bought my copies of “Evil by Design” and “Microinteractions” at O’Reilly’s online shop, but they are also available on Amazon and other stores.

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