Sunday, March 15, 2009

Decision Paths

This article from Noisy Decent Graphics was very interesting. It basically talks about how even when signs are clearly showing a detour (specifically with walking paths) people are usually tempted to at least check out the potential obstructions for themselves so they can make their own decisions. The point is also made that the larger a group, the longer it takes to make a decision about the path to take.

I thought about the marketing implications about this. If people are skeptical or at least don't always blindly follow instructions, how does this affect the marketing of instructions? How often do people read cover to cover a user manual, or read the fine print on a receipt outlining a store's return policy, or pay attention to the potentially life-saving safety instructions after boarding a plane? Not very often is my guess.

I think one way around this would be to make things more interactive. It gives people a certain amount of that decision making process, and also gives them the important information.

One idea I had, which could have multiple applications, is using those paper wheels that you spin around and line up certain things and information is revealed in little boxes. How much more interesting do you think airplane safety information would be if it was on one of those things?

What ideas do you have for making instructions clear and more enjoyable?

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