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Cognitive Bias and the Design Process

Jon Yablonski
September 25, 2022

Cognitive Bias and the Design Process

At any given moment we’re faced with countless bits of information to process so that we can form judgments, make decisions, and get through the day. We’ve developed mental shortcuts to avoid becoming overwhelmed but these shortcuts have a downside: they often lead to fallacious reasoning and unintended results. Designers are just as vulnerable to the blindspots and fallacies that come with cognitive bias as the people who use the products and services we design. It’s impossible to eliminate biases, but we can seek to understand them and identify how they might impact our design decisions. This talk explores the cognitive biases I’ve experienced first-hand when building products and experiences as well as strategies for mitigating their influence.

Jon Yablonski

September 25, 2022
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  1. Cognitive Bias and the Design Process J O N Y

    A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M A U G 2 0 2 2
  2. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C H E C K E R S H A D O W I L L U S I O N
  3. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C H E C K E R S H A D O W I L L U S I O N
  4. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M S E A T H E A D I L L U S I O N
  5. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Unlike visual illusions, cognitive illusions can be much harder to see.
  6. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O G N I T I V E B I A S C O D E X B Y : J O H N M A N O O G I A N I I I J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M
  7. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M System 2 System 1
  8. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M System 2 System 1
  9. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M System 2 System 1
  10. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M It’s equally important that we understand the impact bias has on us, our teams and ultimately the products & services that we build.
  11. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M “The best we can do is a compromise: learn to recognize situations in which mistakes are likely and try harder to avoid significant mistakes when the stakes are high.” D A N I E L K A H N E M A N
  12. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Key Biases SURVIVORSHIP BIAS CONFIRMATION BIAS FRAMING EFFECT AVAILABILITY HEURISTIC FALSE-CONSENSUS EFFECT
  13. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Survivorship Bias J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M B I A S 1
  14. We have a tendency to concentrate on the people or

    things that made it past a selection process and overlook those that do not, typically because of their lack of visibility. S U R V I V O R S H I P B I A S J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M
  15. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M
  16. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M S U R V I V O R S H I P B I A S
  17. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M S U R V I V O R S H I P B I A S Ummm…what about the planes that didn’t make it back? A B R A H A M W A L D
  18. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M S U R V I V O R S H I P B I A S
  19. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M What does this have to do with design?
  20. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M S U R V I V O R S H I P B I A S
  21. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M
  22. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Consider what you don’t see J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M S U R V I V O R S H I P B I A S
  23. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Centralize edge cases J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M S U R V I V O R S H I P B I A S
  24. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Confirmation Bias J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S B I A S 2
  25. We tend to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information

    in a way that confirms or supports our prior beliefs or values. J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  26. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  27. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  28. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M What does this have to do with design? C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  29. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  30. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  31. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Research rather than validate J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  32. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Triangulate research methods J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  33. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Red team, blue team J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M C O N F I R M A T I O N B I A S
  34. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Framing Effect J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M B I A S 3
  35. We tend to make decisions based on whether the options

    are presented with positive or negative connotations; e.g. as a loss or as a gain. J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T
  36. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M
  37. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T FRAMING CHOICE DESCRIPTION P O S I T I V E T R E A T M E N T A S A V E S 2 0 0 L I V E S O U T O F 6 0 0 N E G A T I V E T R E A T M E N T B 4 0 0 P E O P L E W I L L D I E O U T O F 6 0 0
  38. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M FRAMING CHOICE DESCRIPTION P O S I T I V E T R E A T M E N T A S A V E S 2 0 0 L I V E S O U T O F 6 0 0 N E G A T I V E T R E A T M E N T B 4 0 0 P E O P L E W I L L D I E O U T O F 6 0 0 J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T 7 2 %
  39. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M What does this have to do with design?
  40. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T
  41. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M N I E L S E N N O R M A N G R O U P 4 out of 20 users could not fi nd the search function on the website 16 out of 20 users found the search function on the website N E G A T I V E P O S I T I V E
  42. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M N I E L S E N N O R M A N G R O U P 3 1 %
  43. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Avoid leading questions J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T
  44. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Gather more context J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T
  45. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Switch up your point-of-view J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F R A M I N G E F F E C T
  46. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Availability Heuristic J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M B I A S 4
  47. We tend to rely on immediate examples that come to

    a given person’s mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method, or decision. J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M A V A I L A B I L I T Y H E U R I S T I C
  48. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M
  49. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M What does this have to do with design?
  50. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M A V A I L A B I L I T Y H E U R I S T I C
  51. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Why can’t we just design it like [insert company name] does it? A V A I L A B I L I T Y H E U R I S T I C
  52. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Use reason over recall J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M A V A I L A B I L I T Y H E U R I S T I C
  53. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Measure what matters J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M A V A I L A B I L I T Y H E U R I S T I C
  54. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M False-Consensus Effect J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M B I A S 5
  55. We have a tendency to assume that our personal qualities,

    characteristics, beliefs, and actions are relatively widespread through the general population. J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F A L S E - C O N S E N S U S E F F E C T
  56. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M
  57. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M What does this have to do with design? F A L S E - C O N S E N S U S E F F E C T
  58. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F A L S E - C O N S E N S U S E F F E C T
  59. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Acknowledge that you are not the user J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F A L S E - C O N S E N S U S E F F E C T
  60. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Always test with real users J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F A L S E - C O N S E N S U S E F F E C T
  61. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Identify your assumptions J O N Y A B L O N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M F A L S E - C O N S E N S U S E F F E C T
  62. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M Key Biases SURVIVORSHIP BIAS CONFIRMATION BIAS FRAMING EFFECT AVAILABILITY HEURISTIC FALSE-CONSENSUS EFFECT
  63. J O N Y A B L O N S

    K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M It’s impossible to eliminate biases, but we can seek to understand them and identify how they might impact our design decisions.
  64. Thank you J O N Y A B L O

    N S K I | J O N Y A B L O N S K I . C O M 📙 D E S I G N I N G F O R C O G N I T I V E B I A S 📙 T H I N K I N G , F A S T A N D S L O W 👩💻 B I A S E D B Y D E S I G N . C O M R E C O M M E N D E D R E S O U R C E S