Title: Teller Reveals His Secrets
Context: Getting a user to do what you want need not be a mystical endeavor.
Synopsis: “How’d he do that?!?!” Even the most prosaic child’s birthday party magician is bound to hear this more often than not. People are generally eager to be fooled as long as the trickery is a transparent and mutually agreed upon state. Engaging an audience in illusion in order to elicit wide eyed disbelief is as much science as art. Human nature, not aesthetic taste, is the magician’s blackboard upon which he transcribes his understanding of human understanding. The artistic flourish is the sugar coating that makes the bitter pill of deception one we are all eager to swallow. There is much here that transfers to the field of user experience design as well. Using sleight of hand to encourage mutually advantageous behavior is not necessarily black hat UX as long as the endgame is clear. Taking cognitive shortcuts towards a desired outcome can be just as magical in a designed workflow as in an illusionist’s parlor trick.
Best Bit: “Magic’s about understanding–and then manipulating–how viewers digest the sensory information.”

via smithsonianmag.com