Re: Taking advantage of "reflexive" responses in users

Subject: Re: Taking advantage of "reflexive" responses in users
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2000 11:48:50 -0700

"Hart, Geoff" wrote:

> While I greatly admire the cleverness of the anonymous programmer who
> understood (and manipulated) my behavior so expertly, I'm not going to tell
> you the URL because I don't support this kind of trick marketing.

> So the techwr-l tie-in: A small voice is telling me we could use this kind
> of predictable response in technical communication, but I'm drawing a blank
> right now. Suggestions anyone?

Various sites that give detailed information about how to use
banners suggest that trick banners like this initially have a
very high click-through rate, that soon drops very sharply.

I suspect that most people resent being tricked, even in such a
relatively harmless way. Very likely, this resentment is going to
be extended to the company that posted the banner. I know that
I'd feel that way.

Because of the strong possibility of this reaction, I'd say that
this sort of trick has no place in the marketing or the
tech-writing of a company that isn't in the gray in-between world
of the spammers and fly-by-night artists.

I suppose you could say that using design principles to place
information where readers can find it or easily see its relation
to other information is taking advantage of reflexive responses.
However, using design principles isn't trickery. Its goal is to
simplify and enhance, not to deceive or mislead.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

"Soon you'll achieve the stability you strive for,
In the only way that it's granted:
In a place among the fossils of our time."
-Jefferson Airplane (after John Wyndham)

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