All posts filed under “Entropy

Stuff that matters: Unpicking the pyramid

Stuff that matters: Unpicking the pyramid

Most things are unnecessary. Most products, most consumption, most politics, most writing, most research, most jobs, most beliefs even, just aren’t useful, for some scope of ‘useful’. I’m sure I’m not the first person to point this out, but most of our civilisation seems to […]

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Exploiting the desire for order

Exploiting the desire for order

I met a lot of remarkable people in Finland, and some of them – they know who they are – have given me a lot to think about, in a good way, about lots of aspects of life, psychology and its relation to design. Thanks […]

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Lights reminding you to turn things off

Lights reminding you to turn things off

Duncan Drennan, who writes the very thoughtful Art of Engineering blog, notes something extremely interesting: standby lights, if they’re annoying/visible enough, can actually motivate users to switch the device off properly: Our DVD player has (to me) the most irritating standby light that I have […]

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The Rebound Effect nicely illustrated

The Rebound Effect nicely illustrated

The Rebound Effect is a significant problem in energy policy and sustainable design: if new devices are more energy efficient, will users simply use them more, or leave them on for longer? (A kind of Jevons’ Paradox). This UK Energy Research Centre report (PDF, 5 […]

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Do you really need to print that?

Do you really need to print that?

This is not difficult to do, once you know how. Of course, it’s not terribly useful, since a) most people don’t read the display on a printer unless an error occurs, or b) you’re only likely to see it once you’ve already sent something to […]

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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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Biting Apple

Biting Apple

Interesting to see the BBC’s summary of the current iPhone update story: “Apple issues an update which damages iPhones that have been hacked by users”. I’m not sure that’s quite how Apple’s PR people would have put it, but it’s interesting to see that whoever […]

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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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Cleaning up with carpets

Cleaning up with carpets

Following the recent post looking at aspects of casino and slot machine design, in which I quoted William Choi and Antoine Sindhu’s study – “[Casino] carpeting is often purposefully jarring to the eyes, which draws customers’ gaze upwards toward the machines on the gambling floor” […]

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Ticket off (reprise)

Ticket off (reprise)

Last year we looked at the way that the pricing structure of no-change-given ticket machines is often – apparently – designed to lead to overpayment, and I posed the question of whether councils/car park operators actually draw up their budget based on a significant proportion […]

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Process friction

Process friction

Koranteng Ofosu-Amaah kindly sent me a link to this article by Ben Hyde: I once had a web product that failed big-time. A major contributor to that failure was tedium of getting new users through the sign-up process. Each screen they had to step triggered […]

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A bright idea?

A bright idea?

UPDATE: See this more recent post for information and photos of how to get a 2-pin bulb to fit in a BC3 fitting. This may well be the example which involves the most different ‘architecture of control’ issues so far – by a long way. […]

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Some links

Some links

First, an apology for anyone who’s had problems with the RSS/Atom feeds over the last month or so. I think they’re fixed now (certainly Bloglines has started picking them up again) but please let me know if you don’t read this. Oops, that won’t work… […]

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Dependence

Dependence

Karel Donk has some intriguing thoughts on ‘maximising the upside’ of life, by reducing dependence on other people, status and possessions, so that there is less to lose: So one of the important things in life is to be as independent as possible and rely […]

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