Lately I’ve been reading and studying the idea of how people can change their lifestyles through measured behavior, or what I call Personal Metrics. At the heart of Personal Metrics is the need for persuasion, whether aligning a new idea, adopting a new attitude, or modifying their behavior.
In my research, I’ve discovered the work of BJ Fogg who coined the idea of Captology, which is the study of computers and their use as persuasive technologies. As Founder & Director of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, Fogg helps create insight into how computers and technology can be designed to change what people believe and what they do.
When it comes to changing a lifestyle or behavior, we first must persuade them to agree that a change is necessary. But then, to act out the change, the activity to be done must be within their range of ability.
To increase a person’s ability, Fogg finds there are two things you can do. First, train people, and give them more skills. Or, second, make the behavior easier to do. However, as human beings, we are often resistant to change and don’t allow enough discipline to train and learn new skills. As a result, to change behavior, designers must make the behavior easier to do. Fogg refers to this as Simplicity.
Making the behavior easier to do does not necessarily mean that the acts carried out need to be made simpler, but rather, perhaps the individual’s perception needs to be changed.
“Simplicity is not a characteristic of the product. It is a perception that we have of the experience in accomplishing the task.” – BJ Fogg
The next time you set out to simplify something, perhaps the simplification is not required in the product but its perception.
Read my full post on this at Personal Metrics