The Hidden Persuaders of the Digital Age

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Today many of the same techniques that Packard warned about sixty years ago in his classic "The Hidden Persuaders" are being used without hesitation to persuade users of digital products to subscribe, click, scroll, buy, invite and more. The same people who claim a user-centric mindset have no second thoughts when using learnings from psychology to obviously steer users towards desired behaviours.
In this talk I give examples of growing problem areas and and describe how designers need to take more responsibility for the well-being and autonomy of users, as well as some practical ways this could play out. There is a cost to doing the right thing, but there are also rarely measured human costs that we are already paying dearly for. By showcasing these costs of the different paths available to us we can boost the incentive to include more conscious, moral decision-making in the design process.

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