What We’re Reading: Nudge

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The SiteInSight team has been reading the book “Nudge” together.

Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, focuses on how companies, organizations and government often unwittingly choose a “default setting” for everything from voting ballots to enrollment in retirement savings plans at private companies. (For example, are you automatically in and you can opt out? Or are you automatically out and you have to opt in?)

The idea is to think about the things we plan to do in our best moments (eat healthy, exercise, save money) and compare those to how we act in the moment (buy cookies! eat cookies!). The book discusses ways we can organize our world so that we more frequently do the thing we would plan to do, instead of the impulsive thing, or the thing we never get around to.

The book is a fine read at face value, but as web designers, we have a special interest. Reflecting on how we design our world to make the best choice the easiest choice is something that translates easily to our work. For example, we might receive text and images from a client, with instructions to put them on a webpage. Upon further reflection, we might realize there are two competing options that confuse the web page visitor, who then takes no action at all. Or we might ask the client what action should be emphasized. Perhaps there is a donate button on every page of a nonprofit website, but a special appeal requires different treatment. We might even exclude the regular accoutrements of the page template and make a landing page to emphasize the special appeal, to the exclusion of the usual content and navigation menu.

If you have already read the book or would like to do so before March 21st, feel free to join our company book club discussion at the Panera on Hamilton Road in Gahanna (near Clark State, not the one near Morse Road) at 12:30pm March 21. If you don’t have a copy, the library has several. RSVP to alice@siteinsight.com.

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