Home > Events > Beyond Usability – How People Decide (Weekend Workshop)
19 June, 2010

Join us:

Tom is looking at a website that sells computers.  He’s wondering whether he should splurge for the laptop with all the bells and whistles, or opt for something cheaper.

As the Designer of the site, you’ve done the usability testing and are confident that the user needs have been met. You assume that Tom will make a well-reasoned cost/benefit decision, and that he will purchase the optimal laptop for his needs.

But is that what he’ll do?

As Designers, we create the framework within which we expect people to make decisions. And we assume that if we make the design usable, people will take action. But, Usability does not motivate!

Research reveals that the strategies people use to make decisions are often not as we expect or predict. Sometimes, even subtle aspects of the design can have a significant impact on people’s perception and behavior.

In this workshop, we’ll examine what affects human behavior and decision-making, such as:

  • How choices are offered and presented
  • The format and context of information displayed
  • What leads to better or worse decision-making

This presentation will help you better understand the drivers behind decision-making and how your website is affecting user behavior right now.


Why you should attend:
As Designers and Usability Specialists, we create interaction solutions where we want people to “take action”.  When we do our job well, the solutions we deliver are elegant and user friendly. BUT, will that elegant and usable design drive the kind of behavior you’re hoping for?

As Designers and Usability Specialists, we need to recognize that we are in the business of creating decision-making spaces – and just because our customers can take action doesn’t mean they will.  If we’re going to design an effective decision-making framework, we’ve got to know something about how people make decisions.

In this presentation, you’ll be introduced to concepts and principles that draw from research in the fields of behavioral economics, decision-making theory, and the study of influence and persuasion. We’ll look at how these principles and concepts can be applied to UI Design. The presentation will help you better understand how human beings function in a complex world where you compete for their attention and business.

Note: Colleen has presented on similar topics at the January 2010 UPA meeting and at the UPA Mini Conference.  For this workshop, she will focus primarily on the concepts of Framing and Choice, where she will introduce new material not previously covered, and handle the topics in greater depth.


Colleen Roller has over 15 years of experience in Usability, UI Design, and Instructional Design.  She is particularly interested in how people make decisions, what affects the decision-making process, what motivates people to act, and how specific details of page layout and design impact and drive human behavior.  She has presented on these topics for corporate audiences such as Fidelity and VistaPrint, as well as for UPA and as an invited speaker at Bentley University.  She is forever fascinated with the workings of the human mind, and with the art and science of designing for it. 


The event is hosted at Bentley’s Design & Usability Center (DUC). Breakfast coffee and snacks will be provided.  Attendees are not required to bring a computer. Some aspects of the workshop will be hands-on and interactive.