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Faulty By Design
February 10, 2016

Vector Image of William Gribbons, PhDFAULTY BY DESIGN:
A PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF USER DECISION MAKING
William Gribbons, PhD, Bentley University

“I tell my graduate students each semester the human mind is not optimized for complex decision-making, which explains why we all regularly make less-than-ideal decisions in the most important aspects of our lives.” Unfortunately, the same holds true for our users and customers as they interact with our products and services. In the past we have classified these “mistakes” as user errors. But if this behavior is natural and predictable, is this a correct designation?

In this talk, we will examine the psychological variables influencing decision making and highlight how these factors affect a user’s performance navigating the many decisions embedded in our products and services. The heart of the problem is the act of complex decision making often exceeds our thinking capacity. To accommodate this resource shortfall the mind regularly employs a wide array of simplifying heuristics and biases that are typically “good enough” for the more mundane aspects of life but that result in less-than-optimum decisions in critical situations. And while we design assuming a logical, rational decision-making agent, we will also address the debilitating effects of emotions on decisions. Building on this psychological foundation, Bill will offer examples of how user experience designers can address these issues and you will learn how to facilitate more effective decisions through a variety of design practices.

About the Speaker

Bill Gribbons (@wgribbons) is Director of the graduate Human Factors program at Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts. The Human Factors program at Bentley is among the largest and most respected user experience programs in the country. In 2013, he established a west coast campus for the program in San Francisco. Bill also teaches Innovation in the Bentley MBA.

In 1999, Dr. Gribbons founded the User Experience Center at Bentley, and continues to hold a senior consulting role. For over twenty-eight years he has provided strategy, product design, and user experience consulting services to technology groups around the world. In 2013, he founded the Bentley UX Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The mission of the studio is to demonstrate the value of user experience research and design to the success of early-stage start-ups.

Bill received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Mass High Tech Council. He has appeared on, and been quoted by, local and national media including the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, Bloomberg News, Boston Business Journal, Computerworld, Mass High Tech, The Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, the Washington Times, East Bay Business Times, ABC “20-20”, Business 2.0, a nationally syndicated radio show (A Touch of Grey), Investor Business Daily, Times Higher Education Smashing Magazine, Knowledge@Wharton, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

His long-term research interests center on the building of a unified theory defining the user experience and the promotion of user experience as a guiding business strategy.coming out in the next year and is a frequent speaker at conferences like SXSW, Collision, Future of Web Design, and Webvisions.


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