EuroIA: Designing Interactions that Help Customers in Decision Making, Stefano Bussolo

Stefano Bussolon took the audience through a whistle-stop tour of strategies to help users in their decision making processes. He showed that choice can be good or bad depending on how clear a user is to what they want, and that we should be talking heuristics rather than logic.

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  1. Entire presentation can be found on the Hyperlabs site
  2. Eric Reiss introduced Bussolon by highlighting the exciting work happening in the field of neurological web design such as Susan Weinschenk's "Neuro Web Design."

  3. The first goal of information architecture is to maximise the quantity and quality of information; and minimise the cost and effort to find it.

    Information becomes knowledge if it helps an agent to make a decision. 

    With this in mind, Bussolon suggests that we should not be thinking about findability as much as choosabilty.

  4. A 2003 paper by Alexander Chernev suggests there are three different types of consumers:

    A: those who know exactly what they want
    B: those know their preferences for what they want and need to make a choice
    C: those who only know the attributes for what they want.

    Paradoxically, type A (those who know what they want) feel better about their buying decision when there are more options, but the others prefer less.

  5. There is a matrix of decisions, with axes of cognitive difficulty (easy-hard) and accuracy (easy-hard). Logical decisions are accurate, but also difficult. Heuristics are accurate with less effort, so people prefer them. 
    (Actions that are difficult and innacurate are illogical).
  6. Bussolon quickly outlined various heuristic techniques:

    Elimination by Aspects (EBA): cut out what you don't want.
    Majority of Confirming Dimensions (MCD) -- e.g. opening up browser tabs of all the options for a car and comparing them
    Satisfying Heuristics (SAT): take the first satisfactory alternative e.g. finding a carpark or searching on Google
    Lexicographical Heuristics (LEX): sorting via terms.
    Equal Weight Mean: aggregating set of scores into a whole e.g. Trip Advisor ratings for cleanliness etc and the total score.
    Faceted Information: letting people drill down. Suggests looking at Peter Boersma's EuroIA 2010 talk on this topic

  7. His summary of ways to improve chooseability were:

    Facilitate both rational and heuristic decision strategies
    Divide the processes of decision making
    Design for different users (those who are decided, and those thinking of preferences and attributes)
    Give users some external aid (external cognition, suggestions)