All posts filed under “Shopping

Swoopo: Irrational escalation of commitment

Swoopo: Irrational escalation of commitment

Swoopo, a new kind of “entertainment shopping” auction site, takes Martin Shubik’s classic Dollar Auction game to a whole new, automated, mass participation level. It’s an example of the escalation of commitment, or a sunk cost fallacy, where we increase our commitment (in this case […]

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Persuasion & control round-up

Persuasion & control round-up

New Scientist: Recruiting Smell for the Hard Sell Samsung’s coercive atmospherics strategy involves the smell of honeydew melon: THE AIR in Samsung’s flagship electronics store on the upper west side of Manhattan smells like honeydew melon. It is barely perceptible but, together with the soft, […]

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Detailing and retailing

Detailing and retailing

The dazzle painting of HMS Furious, c. 1918. Image from A Gallery of Dazzle-Painted Ships A couple of weeks ago we looked at casino carpet design – a field where busy, garish graphic design is deliberately employed to repel viewers, and direct their attention somewhere […]

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Pier pressure

Pier pressure

   Deliberately routing users via a longer or more circuitous route is found in many forms (with a variety of intentions) from misleading road signs, to endless click-through screens, splitting up articles, periodic rearrangement of supermarket shelves, and so on. This kind of forcing function […]

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The Terminal Bench

The Terminal Bench

Mags L Halliday – author of the Doctor Who novel History 101 – let me know about an ‘interesting’ design tactic being used at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. From the Guardian, by Julia Finch: Flying from the new Heathrow Terminal 5 and facing a lengthy delay? […]

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Portioning blame

Portioning blame

McDonald’s, Toledo, Ohio, 1967. Image from DRB62 on Flickr. We’ve looked previously at the effect of portion/packaging sizes as a ‘choice of default’ architecture of control, and I’m aware that I have not yet reviewed Dr Brian Wansink‘s excellent Mindless Eating, which examines this and […]

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Deliberately creating worry

Deliberately creating worry

Swedish creativity lecturer Fredrik Härén mentions an interesting architecture of control anecdote in his The Idea Book: One of the cafés in an international European airport was often full. The problem was that people sat nursing their coffees for a long time as they waited […]

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Anti-user seating in Oxford

Anti-user seating in Oxford

Top two photos: A bench on Cornmarket Street, Oxford; Lower two photos: A bus stop seat perch on Castle Street. While from a very narrow specification point-of-view ‘they do their job’, what utter contempt for users these two seating examples demonstrate! The benches on Cornmarket […]

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Objects in mirror are wider than they appear

Objects in mirror are wider than they appear

This is an interesting story. Robert Kilroy-Silk (above) currently an independent MEP, has raised the issue in the European Parliament of intentionally distorting mirrors in clothes stores, specifically Marks & Spencer: Marks and Spencer has said it is mystified by a claim by MEP Robert […]

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Packet switching

Packet switching

Both Dr Tom Stafford (co-author of the fantastic Mind Hacks book & blog) and Gregor Hochmuth (creator of FlickrStorm, an improved Flickr search system) have been in touch suggesting packaging/portion sizes as a significant everyday architecture of control, (or at least an aspect of design […]

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Coercive atmospherics reach the bus shelter

Coercive atmospherics reach the bus shelter

Jonathan Zittrain discusses scented advertising in bus shelters: the California Milk Processor Board recently tried a campaign with chocolate-chip cookie-scented “aromatic strips”, intended to provoke a thirst for milk, in San Francisco before having to remove them after allergy/chemical sensitivity concerns. The use of scent […]

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The fight back: loyalty card subversion

The fight back: loyalty card subversion

It’s inevitable that for every attempt to cajole or impose control on users, there will be some people who seek to avoid or circumvent it. As Crosbie Fitch put it in a recent comment, “humans are designed to explore the parameters of their environment and […]

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Creating false memories

Creating false memories

An interactive camera demo from Corporate Communications, Inc. Clive Thompson writes about some interesting research [PDF] by Ann Schlosser at the University of Washington into how the use of interactive product demonstrations on websites can produce “false memories” of product capabilities, compared with more conventional […]

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Teaching customers a lesson

Teaching customers a lesson

Seth Godin talks about companies that try to teach their customers a lesson: “Either you’re going to make someone happy or you’re not… Here’s the short version: If you try to teach a customer a lesson, you’ve just done two things: a. failed at teaching […]

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Behaviour shaping round-up

Behaviour shaping round-up

The legendary Rob Cockerham looks at the Point of Sale Trail in Fry’s Electronics, Sacramento. Shoppers queuing for the checkouts are routed through a maze of aisles densely packed with impulse products: “At any point in the line, approximately 280 different products are within view, […]

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Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Review: Made to Break by Giles Slade

Last month I mentioned some fascinating details on planned obsolescence gleaned from a review of Giles Slade‘s Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Having now read the book for myself, here’s my review, including noteworthy ‘architectures of control’ examples and pertinent commentary. Slade […]

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