I'm all for innovating and making things easier, after all - simplifying experiences is one of the way to achieve the desired behavioral change.
Yet today, I came across two very simple cases of simplified experiences that, while on their own seemed innocuous enough, broke my (and possibly others) expectations and left me out wondering and feeling vexed.
Drunk Tank Pink
A book by Adam Alter, professor of Marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business. Largely it deals with biases, social psychology, environmental effects that have pronounced influence over our behavior (like the fact that Daylight Saving System is putting us out of touch with our circadian rhythm for 7 months/year, thus impairing our cognitive capabilities vs USA states that do not use this system). Lovely, easy read with plenty of "aha-s". After finishing it, I gave it a 3-star rating on Goodreads, which is an average rating.
Thinking through, I gave it this rating based on a feeling (yes, 90% of our decisions are based on feelings): a feeling that what I read is not quite true. Post-rationalizing - the content seems questionable, un-replicable and unsupported with scientific evidence. The like of pop-science made famous by Malcolm Gladwell. This was the feeling most of the readers described.
Why? My guess is that, professor Alter - in an effort to keep reading fluent, without breaks and explanations and bottom notes - missed the fact that a certain category of readers are expecting and looking for references as marks of authenticity and credibility. Instead, all the scientific references where bundled out at the back of the book. Of course, lazy beings as we are, not many of us bothered to read them.
So, I turns out that when you aim for credibility, for teaching a new idea or angle, for making a lasting impression - cognitive dis-fluency actually helps. There are studies that show that dis-fluency in luxury category, actually makes those brands more desirable - and to give you an example think which is more expensive by the bottle:
- Jack Daniels or
- Auchentoshan? (the answer is below, at the end of the article)
This is one of the reasons that the luxury world presents hard-to-spell names, complicated fonts, intricate production processes, waiting lists and other "complications".
Cognitive dis-fluency and money
My second revealing moment of the day came when using the Internet Banking solution of a world-wide Austrian bank. Last month I payed a supplier an advance on her bill and today I wanted to pay the second installment. Naturally, to make things easy for myself - in June, once I typed in the suppliers bank details, I created a payment template that recorded the business name, bank account etc. So today I chose that template, typed in the due amount and hit "pay" button.
Now, as all of us know from interactions with other banks, all online payments require a transaction approval code, right? After all, this is how we feel safe. Instead, the Raiffeisen UX designers (?) decided that templates should not required codes. So I was left wondering if the transaction went through (no, I had no confirmation message) and slightly scared that my money vanished without my final approval.
Dialing furiously at support call center, I learned that indeed they designed it specifically not to require an approval code. Now, this might seem like a big improvement on their part - simplifying the experience, yet, and here comes the insight - when dealing with money, we are not prepared to sacrifice safety for security. If 10 passwords are allowed, this is what most of us will choose to use.
The short moral of the story is this: simplicity is good, but pay attention when you do want some difficulty in order to attain your ultimate goal: incredible customer/user experience.
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While both Jack Daniel's and Auchentoshan start at roughly 30 GPB / 750ml bottle, the most expensive Jack is priced at 799 while Auchentoshan runs up to 4,175 GBP, according to The Whiskey Exchange