Man running after dangling carrot. Do financial incentives work?
Man running after dangling carrot. Do financial incentives work?

Do financial incentives work?

There is a dark side of my past that I usually do not talk about. Years ago, before I became a software product designer, I user to work in advertising. Being at the constant beck and call of clients, people who work in advertising, usually suffer from low self-esteem. This is something that even successful advertising folk cannot avoid. Jacques Seguela, despite his illustrious background, having founded Havas and Euro RSCG, preferred to tell his mother that he was a pianist. At a whore house.

Don’t tell my mother I work in an advertising agency — she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse. — Jacques Seguela
Don’t tell my mother I work in an advertising agency — she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse. — Jacques Seguela

“Don’t tell my mother I work in an advertising agency — she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.”


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This is the transcript from my talk at TEDx IIT Roorkee on the above subject. The video is at the bottom.

Hi, I’m Navneet Nair. I’m a UX Designer. I’ve worked as a designer on Google Finance, Orkut and Yahoo Cricket in the past. These days however, I mostly find myself lending a shoulder for young designers lean on.

So, when I received the invite two weeks ago to speak at TEDx IIT Roorkee, I was surprised. I was in disbelief. I did not reply to the email for a whole day. …


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Here’s the transcript from a talk I gave this week at the Transform.design Conference. The presentation is below and each separator is for a slide change.

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Download the presentation

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Let me ask you a question. We are all designers here, but when you think of the word ‘design’ what comes to your mind? I have three words that come to mind.

1st — Exciting: Despite the condition of the Bangalore roads, every morning, I’m really excited to go to work.

2nd — Limitless: Our work is constrained only by the limits we put on ourselves.

3rd — Powerful: The results we achieve are so powerful that people sit up and take…


Using vision, goals and habits in design.

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As a designer, you would have been trained to recognise the importance of the design process. Some of you will have also used a design vision to drive your vision. You may not use it regularly, but maybe at least in a couple of projects. But do you regularly set design goals for your projects? And have you tried establishing design habits? Without all of these elements working together, the design process is incomplete and inefficient and will only give results when the right team uses it. …


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In 2006, Heidi Tran & Brianna Cry, two preschool girls, met on a dinner cruise in Hawaii. They immediately bonded for one night but lost touch for 12 whole years. It was on a whim that Brianna posted the photo on Twitter, with the hope of finding a long lost friend — and it went viral overnight.

Within 12 hours, there were over 1000 retweets and eventually Heidi and Brianna were reunited. With a little help from Ellen DeGeneres — who of course found the story interesting enough to make it to her show.

Stories like this are really inspirational, and interestingly enough they involve software products. But when we write user stories, do we think about scenarios like these? …


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Strategy is about Deliberate Intentions.
Execution is about Deliberate Action.
You need both, often in equal measure, to win.

Amit Somani

Amit is a Managing Partner at Prime Venture Partners, and I had the honor to work with at Google. I completely agree with Amit on the quote but believe there is one more aspect that is important. That is the core value. According to me:

Value is about Deliberate Motivation

Execution follows strategy. Strategy follows values.

I have a three step process that is foundation on which Value Centered Design is based.

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  1. Value: A value encapsulates the reason why one is building the product. One arrives upon this by articulating how the product empowers the user to achieve their purpose. …


The MVP should be a prototype, not a product.

Marty Cagan

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Marty Cagan is a founder partner at the SVPG and author of the highly influential book on creating tech products, Inspired. Amongst other things in the book, Marty mentions the importance of having a clear vision while building products. This point resonated with me, especially since having a vision or value is so central to the design process that I have been evangelizing.

Based on the book, here are 8 points that I feel we should keep in mind if we wish to create an inspired MVP.

1. The MVP is not a product

Very few people understand this. The aim of the MVP is to do a quick dipstick study about the feasibility. There is no way to know if an idea works or not before we put it in front of the users. And to do this, the best thing is to create a prototype and test it out. This will give you a little bit of an idea about some of the things you can’t really know. …


Why to avoid Narrow Framing when making design decisions.

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Framing biases occurs when people make a decision based on the way the information is presented, as opposed to just on the facts themselves. To rephrase this point, the same facts presented in two different ways could lead to different outcomes or decisions from people.

Framing biases have been an important part of Behavioral Economics and the Nobel Prize winning author Daniel Kahneman in his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ provides us with this example.

The flagship example of behavioral policy, called Save More Tomorrow, was sponsored in Congress by an unusual coalition that included extreme conservatives as well as liberals. Save More Tomorrow is a financial plan that firms can offer their employees. Those who sign on allow the employer to increase their contribution to their saving plan by a fixed proportion whenever they receive a raise. The increased saving rate is implemented automatically until the employee gives notice that she wants Co opt out of it. This brilliant innovation, proposed by Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi in 2003, has now improved the savings rote and brightened the future prospects of millions of workers.


Shouldn’t we treat users as irrational humans?

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Richard Thaler, the Nobel Prize winning economist, talks about a mythical species that is real only to an economist. The Homo Economicus — he calls them Econ for short. An Econ is an extremely rational being and believes in maximizing utility with every decision they make. This is what a prototypical Econ looks and behaves like:

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I believe when we designers look at users, we have a tendency to classify them similarly — as Homo Usabilitus. We expect them to respond to stated user needs and presume that they will behave rationally when it comes to immediate task at hand.

However as Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler have shown in their studies, human beings are innately irrational when it comes to making economic decisions. …


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An example of putting the process into practice

Over the last few articles we have been exploring Value Centred Design in detail. The articles so far cover the following topics:

  1. What is Value Centred Design
  2. Why we need Value Centred Design
  3. How can we implement Value Centred Design

This article is a continuation on the topic of ‘How to implement Value Centred Design’.

Using Value Centred Design to design a Cell Phone UI

“Cell phones are so convenient that they’re an inconvenience.”

Haruki Murakami,

Thanks to Steve Jobs, mobile phones have become more useful and easier to use than ever.

We can stay in touch with our friends, family and work, anywhere and anytime. We can get answers to difficult questions with a Google search, in an instant. And even keep ourselves entertained, during our free time — and sometimes even at work. …

About

Navneet Nair

Heading design at PhonePe | Ex Google | Ex Yahoo

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