Title: The Psychology of Numbers in Design
Context: Numbers, numbers everywhere, nor any data to drive behavior.
Synopsis: Numbers are funny. Not “ha, ha” funny, but rather “huh, that’s strange” funny. Odd if you will. Even the even ones. Numbers are fixed. Concrete. They are what they are. 2 is not 3. $1.99 is not $2.00 (or even 2 for that matter). We interpret numbers different ways according to their context while they themselves remain unchanged. Our brains don’t always subscribe to the eternal logic numbers represent. And these quirky evaluations can drive behavior in opposition to — and in spite of — numerically immutable logic. We see numbers. We understand numbers. But we also viscerally react to numbers, letting emotion trump reason and alter our actions accordingly. Give someone a spreadsheet and they crunch numbers for a day, teach someone to visualize data and they have metrics for life.
Best Bit: “In fact, a recent Cornell study indicates that numbers, when supplemented with charts and visualizations, significantly increase the persuasiveness of that information.”

via growth.supply