6 August 2011

Designing for social norms (or how not to create angry mobs)

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

Danah Boyd
Danah Boyd thinks we need a more critical conversation about the importance of designing with social norms in mind.

“Good UX designers know that they have the power to shape certain kinds of social practices by how they design systems. And engineers often fail to give UX folks credit for the important work that they do. But designing the system itself is only a fraction of the design challenge when thinking about what unfolds. Social norms aren’t designed into the system. They don’t emerge by telling people how they should behave. And they don’t necessarily follow market logic. Social norms emerge as people – dare we say “users” – work out how a technology makes sense and fits into their lives. Social norms take hold as people bring their own personal values and beliefs to a system and help frame how future users can understand the system. And just as “first impressions matter” for social interactions, I cannot underestimate the importance of early adopters. Early adopters configure the technology in critical ways and they play a central role in shaping the social norms that surround a particular system.”

Danah Boyd is a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Read article

Be the first to share
Related Article
24 February 2015
5 imperatives of user experience design in mobile health technology
David Lee Scher, MD - Owner & Director, DLS Healthcare Consulting discusses what he thinks are five important issues in achieving the ideal mobile technology user experience, specifically for those technologies hoping to enter the …
Related Article
24 February 2015
“I’m divorcing my Nest thermostat”
Kara Pernice, the Managing Director at the Nielsen Norman Group, was a proud early adopter of the unique, cool, and pretty Nest device: "It helped me save energy, and communicated to me. But things went …
Related Article
23 February 2015
Changing behaviour for a better deal? Not as easy as it sounds
There are many areas of life - e.g. utility providers - where we could be getting a better deal by making what seems to be an easy switch. Behavioural scientist Nathalie Spencer of The RSA …
Related Article
20 February 2015
[White paper] Digital assurance: Reaching a seamless customer experience
Digital Assurance: Reaching a Seamless Customer Experience by Shawndra Hill (Wharton professor of operations and information management) and Kumudha Sridharan (vice president and global head of testing services at Wipro Technologies) White paper produced by Knowledge@Wharton and …
Related Article
31 January 2015
The last-mile problem: How data science and behavioral science can work together
Analytics is typically discussed in terms of computer technology, machine learning algorithms, and big data. Behavioral nudges, on the other hand, concern human psychology. What do they have in common? Quite a bit, says James …
Related Article
31 January 2015
The startup “that helps companies fix their user experience problems”
Davey Alba explains in Wired how UserTesting runs an online panel of over 1 million testers—volunteers mostly—who can test products and other company materials on demand. : "The company has developed a way for businesses to …
Related Article
31 January 2015
Privacy and human behavior in the age of information
Privacy and human behavior in the age of information Alessandro Acquisti, Laura Brandimarte and George Loewenstein (of Carnegie Mellon University) Science 30 January 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6221 pp. 509-514 This Review summarizes and draws connections between …
Related Article
27 January 2015
New Wikipedia page on “Design for behaviour change”
The new Wikipedia page on "Design for behaviour change" starts as follows: "Design for behaviour change is a sub-category of design, which is concerned with how design can shape, or be used to influence human behaviour. …

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.

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

See all articles