Cennydd Bowles: The Perils Of Persuasion
Persuasion design is marketing. UX isn't.
I have struggled for months to unify my understanding of these two political wings, and now conclude that I cannot. I believe that persuasion design is not part of user experience design. It is marketing. Persuasion design prioritises business goals above those of the user, and its values are irreconcilable with empathy, the central value of UX.
That's not to say that persuasion design isn't highly valuable and attractive to business. After all, it matches the recognised business patterns of marketing, making its effects felt in tangible measures that UCD's intangible altruism cannot: conversion rates, signups, and so on.
I subscribe to Peter Druckerâ€˜s view that business has only two functions: innovation and marketing. Under this model, user experience design is innovation. It uncovers people's needs and and gives makers the knowledge to develop new products and services that meet those needs.
This, finally, is why I disagree with Josh Porter's assertion that UX is really just good marketing – however, my disagreement isn't with his framing of marketing, but of user experience. As far as persuasion design is concerned, he is right – but the equation does not apply to UCD and UX.
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