Design recommendations on Persuasive Technology in HCI

cover image of the summary of the book dont make me think

Caraban et al. (2019) introduced a framework with 23 mechanisms of nudging found in a systematic literature review. They organized this nudging mechanisms into 6 categories (facilitate, confront, deceive, social influence, fear, and reinforce) in which the nudges presented leverage 15 different cognitive biases. 

Cognitive biases:

In daily decision-making when the automatic mind is activated (Dual-process theories of decision-making, Kahneman and Strack) mental shortcuts called heuristics are applied. These shortcuts allow us to replace unavailable or inaccessible information, with another section of information that has a potentially high likelihood to produce correct judgments. (Shah and Oppenheimer, as cited in Caraban et al. 2019)

On the one hand, heuristics assist us in quick and seamless decision-making, on the other hand, they make us subject to cognitive biases, which are “systematic deviations from rational judgment.“ (Caraban et al. 2019)


Thaler and Sunstein (as cited in Caraban et al., 2019) presented the concept of nudging as a way to support accurate decision-making taking into account the systematic cognitive biases and heuristics that are often involved in the thinking processes.

As per Hansen and Jespersen, (cited in Caraban et al., 2019) nudges can be classified into four categories according to their intention:

  • Influence behavior
  • Prompt reflective choice
  • Manipulate choice
  • Manipulate behavior


Summary content:

Chapter 1: Don’t make me think

Krug introduces his first law of usability: “Don’t make me think”. He says that if someone wants their website to be easy to use, before click count, language use, and consistency, the most important is not adding load to the cognitive workload of users.

According to this, a website should be self-explanatory and self-evident, meaning that users should understand what it is and how to use it without a major effort.


🔵The main goal when building a website should be for each page to be self-evident.


“Usability really just means making sure that something works well.”

“Visitors to a site shouldn’t spend their time thinking about, like: Where am I? Where should I begin? Where did they put _____? What are the most important things on this page? Why did they call it that?”

“If web pages are going to be effective, they have to work most of their magic at a glance.”

“Given the potential power of searching and the number of people who prefer searching to browsing, unless a site is very small and very well organized, every page should have either a search box or a link to a search page.”

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