UCD13 - former Government advisor Patrick Jordan's key takeways on human behaviours for UX design

Patrick Jordan, psychologist and former Government advisor offered sound insight and advice while speaking at UCD 2013, when it came to human behaviours, world truths and how they could be considered within design success.

He referenced Canadian anthropologist Lionel Tiger, who discovered while travelling that no matter where he was in the world, there were four different types of things that could motivate people. He called these the four pleasures, which Jordan spelled out as physio, social, psycho and ideo.

Here are some key takeaways of advice from Jordan's talk:

He explained the four types, with physio to do with the body and the senses, psycho, which could be divided into cognitive and emotional sides, social to do with relationships and ideo, to do with values - moral or tastes.

"This is a framework that I used with my clients to understand people's needs of any given product or service or designing a job of work for people," he explained before looking at a number of examples for each.

Beginning with physio, he relayed a conversation with a man he had had in a train who refused to sit down despite many seats being free because he had read an article claiming that standing up all week was the equivalent of a half marathon.

"Work patterns are changing, people are coming away from their desk more often and working nomadically more often, but we as a profession don't know much about the pros and cons of that," he stated. "Where have regulations that tell us about working at desks but don't tell us much about iPads, smartphones...and I'm working on regulations to help change those ongoing things."

"You have to understand which environments work well and less well," he added, while considering what makes a stressful environment.

"What we need to be aware of as user centred designers in terms of usability is who we are designing for in terms of accessibility," he continued, before referring to the BMI Baby court case that was settled out of court following the RNIB demands.

"The discrimination act was the vehicle for taking this to court and user centric design can be vulnerable to it if it's not sufficiently inclusive, but the key thing is to decide who we are designing for and who we are not...you need to be really clear who is included and excluded - you can't involve everybody all of the time," he added, having told the story of seeing a toaster he invented highlighted as an accessibility failure as the spring inside was to heavy for arthritic users to push down.

"If you are not clear about that the danger is that you just exclude people by default"

He then exemplified Eddie Stobart trying to 'turn' the image of truck driving on its head as one way of different thinking.

He also claimed that doctor's poor handwriting had killed more patients than cancer before they were told to write in block capitals due to people misreading number of prescription. "These little things you don't think about can cause disasters in the system."

Hull had been recognised as the least healthy city in England when he came across "the most unhealthy environment I've ever seen people work in." This was a call centre for late community charge payments where employees had many targets, and they were forced to work from a script.

"The job was designed to make the user stressed," he explained. "Just putting a little bit of discretion into the script lifted people's moral and gave the call centre worker a choice over whether people have one week or two to pay. When designing a job or system it can be very important."

He then turned to former referee of the year on six occasions, Pierluigi Collina, who made refereeing more 'playercentric'.

"The main criteria of making good referring decisions is being close to the ball," explained Jordan who he said that Collina looked at it from a different point of view by trying to work out where ball is going to go by studying videos of players to understand the game and run into that space. "Generally speaking he got it right - sometimes rethinking the whole system. what's the crucial thing that makes it right? What will make the system work and how do you improve that one crucial thing to make a big difference?"

"The whole issue about what our relationship is to our user as people has become more sensitive," Jordan said while discussing trust in the emergence of Wikimedia.

"One interesting thing about user centric design is that sometimes people relate to products as if they are people," he said in relation to automotive brand, Jeep, after research found that people who bought a Jeep thought of the brand as though as they thought if themselves. "If people think that the product reflects your own personality, even in terms of its aesthetics or web content, they will become more attached to it. So thinking about product's people interaction as a social interaction and thinking about products personality can be unite effective."

Referencing Jewify, a Jewish organisation against racism, which has a website that places all newspapers within it and replaced terms with the word Jew, to provoke empathy, until the site was hacked. "This is about design or the ethics that you instill in people - however good the design, it can easily break down."

He later stated that changing behaviour was easier than attitude, before signing off by recommending that the four segments to be considered within every project.

"We can meet people's practical needs and also engage them emotionally," Jordan concluded, and advised that designers should look at all four on every project; "We can meet people's practical needs and also engage with them emotionally."

Earlier at UCD 2013, designer Anna Dahlstrom discussed the role of storytelling and the importance it can have in UX design.