Psychology Behind Design

As computer science students, we find ourselves becoming more and more immersed into new ways of thinking and working with technology each and every semester. The further we go, the more our brains are tested into thinking in new patterns and methods. This makes some classes easier than others, but it depends solely upon how we think already. This interested me, as someone who has taken almost as many psychology courses as math courses.

The way in which the human brain interacts with things like interface design can make the difference between which operating systems you may choose to use on your devices. I decided for this blog post I would explore the psychological side of design and see what truly makes a difference for users. My research for this particular topic was made incredibly easy through the use of the blog post, The Psychology of Design, written by an interaction designer named Jon Yablonski.

As Yablonski explains, psychology can be used to modify systems and interfaces to interact more clearly with human users. By doing this, the experience people have with the system can feel more flawless and uninterrupted since it thinks similarly to the way they do. If this went much further, it could turn into a more artificial intelligence based interface since the interaction would be so similar to a humans. However, this can easily turn into an ethical conflict. In the same way that psychology can be used to enhance the experience a user has with a particular system, it can also be used to possibly manipulate a user into agreeing to something detrimental. To this point, Yablonski commented,

As designers, our responsibility is to create products and experiences that support and align with the goals and well-being of users. In other words, we should build technology for augmenting the human experience, not replacing it with virtual interaction and rewards. The first step in making ethical design decisions is to acknowledge how the human mind can be exploited.

– Jon Yablonski

This was easily one of my favorite blog posts I have read so far simply because of the ways in which it applies psychology to system design and interface structure. The ways in which a system interacts with its user can decide whether it can be considered to be successful design or not.


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