PodCamp 2011 Presentation

  • Location: Ryerson University, 80 Gould St, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Date: 26 February 2011, 13:45:00 – 14:30
  • Room: Lecture Hall RCC 204

It’s not only your website’s information architecture that you need to worry about. You also need to think about your website’s psychological architecture.

The big secret behind successful websites is rarely a design feature that you can emulate or a marketing campaign that you can copy. Their “secret sauce” is something conceptual that you cannot directly observe. However, if you understand the psychological architectures that lay behind their success, you’ll be able to apply their winning principles to your own work, helping you to build better websites, mobile apps, social media campaigns, or other interactive technologies.

In this session, we’ll introduce you to the psychology of online design. We will show you a number of simple principles that you can use to understand website psychology. By the end of this session, you’ll be better equipped to understand why some online ventures are successful, and others miss the mark. We will give away a number of research tools that you can use to reverse engineer the psychological architectures behind successful websites, whether you just want to understand how they work, or whether you need to learn from their success to strengthen your own projects.

We’ll begin this session by discussing the psychology of human-computer interaction and then highlight some of the popular thinking used to describe the psychology of interactive design. Next, we’ll present a communication model that explains how people interact with websites and social media, which also offers a comprehensive system that you can use to explain the psychology of interactive design. We will discuss user psychology, user feedback, media channels, social networks, source factors, messaging, and how messages are expressed.

As an introductory session, we’ll just focus on a few principles of persuasive online design. Then we’ll review how these principles are commonly used in social media profiles, campaign messages, mobile apps, landing pages, and other examples. We will walk you through the first few examples. Then afterwards, we’ll invite you to participate in a group discussions where we explore the psychology behind several popular websites.

Your facilitator, Brian Cugelman (@cugelman) has used the Internet for social change campaigns since 1998, working as a campaigner and evaluator for United Nations agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies. Brian completed his doctorate in online social marketing with the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, a world leading team of Internet researchers. Brian’s research publications focus on the psychology of online interventions that can influence individual and societal level change. At present, he works in Toronto as a freelance consultant with AlterSpark Consulting (@alterspark), where he provides strategic consulting and research services for online campaigns, projects, and social media engagement.