There are at least 300 well-described relevant influences on human behavior, that could be considered in UX. Well, that’s too many for most people in UX. But incorporating psychology is crucial for the efficiency of the process and the quality of the resulting UX!
That’s why in 2020, I decided to develop a smart tool, that enables everybody who is interested in psychology to make the UX of their products and services better with a set of carefully chosen psychological insights. And I knew I needed to develop it iteratively with future users, otherwise, it would not meet their needs.
Step 1: Identifying the most relevant psychological influences and pitfalls
I started to analyze a broad range of projects from my three decades of experience as a psychologist in tech, to identify the most often occurring problems, caused by tangible psychological issues. I structured and classified these causes, ranked them, and ended up with the most important 50 psychological influences. With these 50 insights, I assessed designs, journey maps, and questionnaires to see how they helped to identify the causes of problems. That went well.
Step 2: Developing the first versions of the contents and designs of the cards
Next came the development of the cards. What details about the psychological insights should be provided, what level of detail, what actionable recommendations, how much, what style, etc.? And the physical cards: what size and layout? My first cards described the psychological insights and their causes, but rapid user feedback on the first card prototypes found them not actionable enough. And my own card designs proved that I needed professional graphic design support. So, while I worked on the next versions of the content, I started working with Mandana (see https://schoener.digital) who designed new card layouts, including graphics, icons, etc. She was a very helpful sparring partner in lots of design discussions. This phase took another 3 months.
Step 3: User trials with content and text iterations
Finally, with a version of a full set of cards, I started with real user trials. A great group of approx. 20 people from companies volunteered to try out the cards, partly in workshops or in their daily work. They provided me with detailed feedback which iteratively led to changes in content and wording. There were also additional card types at that time, that should have helped users to choose and apply cards, but trials showed that they were too complex, so I eliminated them completely.
Step 4: Finalizing the cards in 2 languages (English and German)
From the start I wanted the tool to be available in English as well as German. German is my mother tongue. And English is important because on the one hand I see the need for applying psychology all around the globe. And on the other hand, because teams are increasingly becoming multicultural and English is the predominant working language. So I had the cards translated. At that time Klaus Hofer (see www.usabilitymapping.com) was wonderfully supportive with checking the English version. Being a psychologist himself, Klaus was also a great help with finalizing small details in terms and texts.
Step 5: Designing supportive process materials
The trial users had asked for supportive guidance on how to best apply the cards, a kind of process description for daily tasks – in addition to using them as learning materials in the first place. So I developed 2 process descriptions, one for evaluating designs and materials and one for analyzing behavior at hand. In three iterations with users, starting with a small folder, followed by a big map, I finally came up with the process cards.
Parallel to everything else: the development of the box
Parallel to the development of the cards I needed to work on the box for the cards. It was clear to me that I wanted everything to be produced locally, regarding the environmental impact of transport. After various iterations and trial productions, I finally decided upon the box as it is available now. Mandana developed an enjoyable design for the box.
THE FINAL PRODUCT
Finally, after more than 18 months of very intense development time, in October 2022 at the WUC World Usability Congress in Graz, I introduced the UX Psychology Lens® Toolset to the UX community. Wow, was I nervous! But the feedback was incredibly positive, and since then, people are buying the cards and sending me stories about how they use them, and how the cards help them! By now (End of 2022) the cards are already used on three continents and in +20 countries.
What comes next?
The book: The accompanying book, which provides in-depth descriptions, cases, examples, and arguments is almost ready. I had planned it to be available before Christmas, but I guess you understand that sometimes time plans do not work out as intended,
Your feedback is important: The cards are produced locally, and in rather small batches, so that I have the chance to incorporate feedback that I get from you – the people using them!
Specialized cards: In 2023 I will work on supplementary cards on special application areas such as safety, writing, or trust. Let me know which areas are most relevant to you!