HCI International 2011

9-14 July 2011, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Orlando, Florida, USA

T15: Designing for Persuasion and Engagement

Half Day Tutorial

Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D (short bio)
Chief of User Experience Strategy, Americas, Human Factors International, USA


When participants have completed the tutorial they will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between neuroscience and user experience
  • Describe the research on unconscious mental processing, persuasion and engagement
  • Evaluate a website for persuasion and engagement


We think that people are logical and rational, and that their decisions are made by careful thinking. But the reality is that the actions that people take at websites – whether they decide to register, buy, or click -- are made in a largely unconscious way. Although some decisions might come from the rational part of the brain, many decisions and actions are based on emotion, and many are based on automatic triggers that people react to from something at the website.

This session covers the following topics:

  • About the 3 different brains (old, mid, new) and how web sites that talk to all three brains are more compelling and persuasive
  • The unconscious bases to decision-making
  • How emotions affect decisions to take action at a web site
  • How to keep and hold the attention of the unconscious mind and why that is so critical
  • Why customer ratings are so powerful at web sites
  • Which is more powerful?: Fear of losing or anticipation of gain?
  • Whether the order of items on a web page affects the decision to take action
  • How many choices are too many on a web page and what happens if you go over that number
  • The research on how the brain processes stories and pictures
  • Automatic triggers that are hard for humans to avoid reacting to, including at a web site
  • Practical ways to apply the latest neuroscience research to web design

Target Audience

People who are involved in the design of websites.

Bio Sketch of Presenter

Susan Weinschenk has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Penn State, and over 30 years of experience consulting in usability, user experience, and interaction design for Fortune 1000 companies, non-profits, and educational institutions.
Susan has written 4 books on user experience. Her recent books are: Neuro Web Design: What makes them click?, (New Riders, 2009) -- applies the latest research on neuroscience to the design of web sites, and 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (New Riders, April, 2011).
Susan is a highly rated speaker and workshop leader. She is Chief of User Experience Strategy, Americas, at Human Factors International.
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