Avoid the Creep Factor When Designing for Consumers

By Travis McElfresh

You’re at a cocktail party. You see an attractive person across the room. You walk up and introduce yourself with the opener: “I really enjoyed the pics you shared on Facebook of your party last night." Or, “How is that rash on the back of your legs coming along?"

An expected reaction would be in the range of shock, confusion, alarm, or disbelief. At this point, there is little opportunity or chance of establishing a trusting relationship.

Yet, we find many examples in technology and product experiences that are exactly of this nature. "I know what you did last night" is not a cocktail party opener, nor should it be a product opener. When we are faced with a situation that is inconsistent with our expectation, our trust is eroded. The absence of trust is the source of anxiety and fear.

Take a moment and reflect on the people and products that have resulted in fear and anxiety in your life. A manager that behaved inconsistently. The Windows blue screen of death. The weird guy at the cocktail party. The creepy product that is insensitive to your sense of values or expectations.

Our technical abilities in having access to, and taking action on, sensitive consumer information needs to be handled sensitively; not only at the technical level, but, just as critically, at the experience level.

Don't be a creep. And don't make them either.

This emphasizes the point of having the right expertise in designing a consumer experience. Read more on this and 5 other tips on building on a consumer engagement platform are provided in this new Build vs Partner Guide.

Brian Garcia, Welltok’s Chief Technology and Product Officer, will be talking more about building a “smart” consumer platform during his mini-master class at the Digital Health Summer Summit today. Get a short preview of his thoughts here.

Credits: the cocktail party analogy came from an amazing day with Kyra Bobinet in Seattle earlier this spring with our consumer experience folks. I've been having fun using it to find simple, yet profound, insight in our current product and reaffirming our deeply ingrained product design philosophy.