Using simplicity to change perception
At the heart of Personal Metrics is the need for persuasion, whether aligning a new idea, adopting a new attitude, or modifying their behavior.
BJ Fogg 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 designing products and experiences that bring change in an individual’s life or lifestyle, we first must persuade them to agree that a change is necessary. Next, in order 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.
“Simplicity is not a characteristic of the product. It is a perception that we have of the experience in accomplishing the task.” – BJ Fogg
In his video BJ Fogg On Simplicity he outlines 6 facets of simplicity which include: Time, Money, Physical Effort, Brain Cycles, Social Deviance, and Non-Routine. These facets change in importance and influence for each individual because, as Fogg points out, “simplicity is a function of your scarcest resources at that moment”. Fogg is conducting further research into developing Simplicity Profiles that can help designers and companies understand how to create products and services that are tailored to overcoming their customers scarcest resources.
The idea of Personal Metrics is successful if there is a change in thought and behavior. After an individual’s thought process is changed, the challenge lies in executing the new behavior. By adopting the idea of Simplicity, the behavior to be carried out may not be different, but the individual’s perception of their ability to do so can change. Ultimately, this perception in ability is often the key element needed for a change in behavior to occur.