Connect with your users through persuasive design

What is the best way to understand your users? How can you make the most of the data you have on your users? And what steps can you make to enhance your overall design development process?

These are some of the most important questions being asked by designers and within UX design teams. One of the best ways to answer these questions is turning to a design tool and technique called Persuasive Design. In this blog, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about persuasive design.

What is Persuasive Design? 

Persuasive design is a fascinating practice area within the world of design that focuses on influencing user behavior through the characteristics of a product or service. It is a tool based on social and psychological theories used throughout e-commerce, retail, and organizational management.

The persuasive design has proven to be an effective tool in several fields because it can target a group’s long-term engagement. With the persuasive design,  you can encourage continued custom by understanding how your users operate and how they might behave with your product or service. 

The Psychology of Persuasive Design

The psychology of persuasive design is not complicated, nor is it evil. It is a tool, like any other, that can be used for good and misused by bad actors. It is essential to know that with targeted research and thoughtful application, that persuasive design can be a crucial element in the toolkit of any designer.

To truly understand the psychology of persuasive design, you have to understand how persuasion works and how persuasion functions in the context of design. So let's take a look at this trinity of persuasion.

The Trinity of Persuasion

Everyone is familiar with the concept of persuasion. It is a communication technique used every day in every part of our lives. Yet many people may not understand how persuasion works. For designers, it is important to understand how persuasion functions because it is a key element in getting users to engage with and enjoy your designs.

The Trinity of Persuasion is made up of Logos, Pathos, and Ethos:

     1. Logos - Appealing to Logic

A persuader relies on facts and figures to convince their audience by appealing to logic. Instead of emotion, they turn to experts and reputable sources to support their ideas and features. This logical, practical, and solid approach is an important part of persuasion for many people.

       2. Pathos - Appealing to Emotions

On the opposite side of logic, you’ll find emotion. In the context of persuasion, pathos is about appealing to emotions. To some people, facts and figures are cold, lifeless, and challenging to connect with. This is where pathos can come in.

Pathos is about delivering a persuasive argument in a way that appeals to your audience’s emotions. You might want to start with logic and then drive the point home with an emotional statement or an emotional story. In design, you have to be aware of this emotional element and understand how important stories are to how we interact with products, services, and sites.

   3. Ethos - Appealing to Ethics, Morals, and Character

Beyond logic and emotion, there is the concept of ethos. In the context of persuasive design, ethos is about recognizing and appealing to the ethics and morals of your audience and user base. In the current market, consumers are more conscious than ever about where their products and services come from and how they are made. You will succeed if you can create a design that appeals to your audience’s moral and ethical sensibilities.


All three elements of persuasion are crucial factors to consider when thinking about persuasive design. 

  • How are your designs supported by the latest research and studies?
  • How does your design tell a story and connect with users on an emotional level?
  • What is the context of your product or service? What is the ethical or moral story behind your design and creation process?

Ethos, pathos, and logos interweave throughout the design process, and when they work in harmony, they can be very persuasive.  To learn more about persuasive design, check out this video by Dr. Eric Schaffer, “The Process of Persuasive Design in Six Steps.”.

Your Persuasive Design

Persuasive design is a valuable tool that various designers can use in several ways. Once you understand the trinity of persuasion, you will be better able to make the most of this design tool.

Remember, persuasion is not deception. As with every step of the design process, persuasive design is about understanding and pleasing your users and customers.

Your persuasive design will be different from your competitors because it will be infused with your personality, skills, and goals. If you’re keen to try out persuasive design, now's the time to get started!

To learn more about persuasive design and the world of UX, please get in touch with our UX experts.

What is 21st Century Design?

The design has always been about solving a problem. From the desk chair to the smartphone, our creativity has always been spurred on by a desire to make life easier. 21st-century design, which is about using design to address the world’s major problems, has evolved out of traditional design, which sees design purely as a way of solving complex human issues. 21st-century design is about finding the root cause of the problems that plague society and creating effective, sustainable solutions. But are today’s designers equipped to solve such problems? And design capable of overcoming the challenges of the twenty-first century?

Let’s take a look.

The Challenges of the 21st Century for Designers

One of the key challenges for designers in the twenty-first century is changing their mindset and approaching their work. Designers have been trained to think that one expert can solve everything for many years. In most cases, this is not true. And considering this way can lead to poorly designed products and general creative stagnation. Modern design is about collaboration, communication, and connectivity. Today, designers need to know how and when to receive input from their community and prospective users. They need to listen. If we stand any chance of combating the enormous challenges that face us this century, designers must keep humans at the center of what they do. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare our social, political, and environmental struggles. Rather than discourage, these difficulties should provide designers with the desire and the opportunity to create innovative and sustainable solutions.

Making the most available technology also lies at the heart of 21st-century design. “Computer use in the design for the 21st Century will act as the linchpin for most creative design activities. The design of the technology must not only save user (physical and cognitive) effort but create new ways of working and envisionment, allow greater dissemination of information and designed artifacts, and enable increased social inclusion of stakeholders” (UCL)

Human-Centred Design

There are four main principles to ‘Human-Centred Design’:

  1. People-Centred
  2. Solve the Right Problem
  3. Everything is a System
  4. Small and Simple Interventions

These principles can help to guide the creative vision of today’s designers in whatever field they choose to operate.


First and foremost, all designs have to place us (humans!) at the center. How can we create designs that prioritize our wellbeing and the sustainability of our species? This may require some proactive, outside-the-box thinking. And the answers may not always provide a design that is instantly ready to be consumable and profitable. Workflows may need adjusting, and designers will have to refine their priorities.

Secondly, human-centered design is about solving the right sort of problem. Are we looking for solutions that improve our lives and the lives of others in a meaningful way? If not, then the issues may not be worth solving. Of course, the purpose is not always immediately apparent when you start designing something. However, knowing that you are working towards something worthwhile will help you create innovative, modern designs.

Thirdly, everything is a system. Therefore, everything is interconnected. If you pull a string on a design over here, it will likely affect how it operates. This is an essential consideration for app developers and designers in practical terms. When working on their app, they have to understand the hardware their app is used on, the other apps they're competing with, how their user may treat their app, and how the UI of the app affects the UX.

All these things are connected, so designers have to think about the big picture: what do you want the final result to be?

Lastly, it is best to make small and simple interventions. Designers are unlikely to develop an all-encompassing design that solves the entire issue. Instead, it is better to focus on incremental progress through small and simple interventions in the world of twenty-first-century design. This is the best way to keep solutions human-centered and towards real and meaningful progress.

To learn more about modern design, check out this video on ‘21st Century Design’ by Don Norman, an acclaimed American researcher and Director of The Design Lab at the  University of California, San Diego.

To learn more about modern design and what the future for design may look like, get in touch with our UX and UI experts at Radiant Digital.

Understanding Emotional Design

“Everything has a personality: everything sends an emotional signal. So even where this was not the designer's intention, the people who view the website infer personalities and experience emotions.”

— Don Norman, Grand Old Man of User Experience

What role does emotion play in design? Why are we attracted to some designs and not others? How do we experience everyday products, and how can our experiences be improved? These are the kinds of questions Don Norman, director of The Design Lab at the University of California, asked when he first came up with the idea of “Emotional Design.” He was trying to understand the cognitive responses we have when we design and how we can learn to design emotional interfaces that anticipate and accommodate users’ needs. It’s a fascinating concept that deserves a bit of exploration.

What is Emotional Design?

Emotional design is the concept of creating designs that evoke emotions that cause positive user experiences. In 2003, leading researcher and design expert Don Norman published a book titled ‘Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. The book explored the concept of designers creating products, brands, and other things which aim to reach users on three cognitive levels:

  1. The Visceral
  2. The Behavioural 
  3. The Reflective.

Professor Norman was enamored with the idea that everything and anything sends an emotional signal. Therefore designers should go about their work to reach users on these three cognitive levels if they want users to develop positive associations with their product, brand, or design.


When you design, it is essential to address all three levels of cognitive response:

  • Visceral - This level is about the users’ gut reaction or first impression of your design. It is a pivotal moment and will often decide whether the product or service is even worth engaging with. These designers must focus on producing clean, uncluttered designs that are easy to use and understand.
  • Behavioral- How will your design help the user achieve their goals? This cognitive response is about the users’ level of satisfaction and whether they feel in control.
  • Reflective - Once the user has become acquainted with the design, they will judge its performance and the benefits, including whether it is good value for money. Are they happy with the design? Will they keep using it? Will they recommend it to friends? This is where you can tell whether or not the user has formed an emotional bond with your design.

How can we Design Emotional Interfaces? 

The next step is to start creating. The concept of emotional design can apply to a wide variety of products, services, and brands. As a result, the process of implementing this concept will differ from one design to another.

The first step in many workflows should be learning as much as you can about your audience, user, or customer. After all, it is their emotions that you are aiming to anticipate and accommodate for. Once you have some idea about the user, you can start to experiment: this is the fun part.

Here are a few things to consider when applying emotional design to your creative process:

  • Personalize- ensure that your designs are as tailored as possible to your potential users. This should help to engage all three levels of cognitive response and help them form a bond.
  • Customize- Keep updating your design to make sure that it is as relevant and necessary as whatever else is currently on the market. Users will quickly move on to something else if your design becomes obsolete.
  • Focus on the details- to make the most of the Behavioral and Reflective levels, and designs should be refined and polished. This is the best way to remove mistakes and bugs and help users feel comfortable with your product or service.
  • Tell a story- If you can, try to include some sort of story in your design. Stories are the way to the heart and help to build empathy. For a simple product, this may not be easy. However, if you are designing a service or a website or the look and feel of a brand, storytelling is a great way to connect on an emotional level.

“Positive experiences drive curiosity. They help motivate us to grow as individuals. [and] the fact is that the emotional design of a product or service affects its success—and thus the bottom line.” (InteractionDesign) Therefore, knowing how to harness this information about the emotional connection is essential to help inform the designs we create daily.

The three levels or aspects of the emotional system are interlinked. Each can be stimulated in different ways, but all contribute to how we experience and respond to designs. Professor Norman’s concept of Emotional Design is a valuable way to understand and refine the creative process and should aid in creating innovative designs.

How do you create designs that connect with users? Learn about the concept of Emotional Design and how it can be used to anticipate and accommodate the needs and responses of your users. Then, get in touch with our UX experts to learn more about emotional design and how our design process works here at Radiant. 


Designing for the Next Billion Users (NBU)

The pandemic has inevitably brought a seismic change to new internet users, including senior citizens and those from less privileged communities who were previously technologically "disconnected. “Around 40 percent of the world's population now has access to the internet. Interestingly, however, only 36% of those in the low-income communities have access to mobile technology Whereas, there is a startling 40% gender gap in how men and women have access to the internet and other technology devices due to pay gaps and cultural mandates in some of the developing countries.

The 3 P's impacting the digital divide among internet users include:

The increased adoption of smartphones, improved digital infrastructure, and a supportive regulatory environment fuel the rapid growth of mobile technologies worldwide. Tech companies are widening their gazes beyond developed countries for their next growth ventures. Ubiquitous, affordable mobile devices and plans such as Jio in India are helping another billion users join the internet. Why are these users joining the internet bandwagon, and how are they the same or different from the current internet users? The key phrase is "Global expansion through inclusivity. “Google’s technology defines the principles behind building globally accessible products and offering practical resources, especially in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Nigeria. However, mobile and technological affordability is lower than in countries like the US.

Next Billion Users Overview

The top 10 countries with the highest numbers of people not connected to the web are given below.

You can view other essential statistics on internet usage here.

UX designers today need to optimize websites and apps differently for those not digital natives, have no digital experience footprint and use low-cost devices. It also means that they must consider having internet access via an older or low-end phone, varied environments for users with disabilities, and when the network is slow and unreliable. Therefore, a pertinent question to ask is, "What would it be like to use digital interfaces in such conditions?"The following factors will influence app designs as a part of the global accessibility framework under the NBU technology.

At Radiant Digital, we design in a device and environment-agnostic way where the Next Billion users benefit from affordable technology accessibility. This blog discusses the key design considerations for the Next Billion Users.

Why design for the NBU?

We talked to Rachel Simpson, senior designer on Google's Chrome UX team, to determine why designing for the NBU is crucial. Rachel was instrumental in making Chrome work well for the NBU and has primarily focused on India. She said that in India's emerging market, technology companies promote inclusivity and develop solutions by considering:

  • The number and growth rate of the internet-connected population.
  • The shared characteristics of those users.

The opportunity is massive since the growth rate of global technology users has flattened out at 9 percent annually, and the bottoms-up innovation has led to the creative remix of technology usage. Moreover, this growth rate is accelerating and poising developing economies to adopt internet technologies and devices faster and economically. According to Mary Meeker's Internet Trends reports in 2016, India surpassed the US to become the second-largest internet usage market globally, after China, in 2016. Still, it also leaped from 277 million users in 2016 to 355 million in 2017. IAMAI-Kantar Cube reported that India's number of active internet users is likely to hit 900 million by 2025 compared to 622 million in 2020. Moreover, by 2025, this number in rural India would surpass urban India. Given the growing digital ecosystem, UX design will need to evolve to address the specific needs of this emerging demography. With NBU, removing the following barriers will be the top priority for designers.

  • Technological
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability

UX designers need to factor in the following when they design and test for progressive applications.

  • No installation or update costs.
  • No Storage issues.
  • Support for PUSH notifications and offline functionality.
  • Default support for Maps, YouTube, and other useful apps in entry-level devices.
  • Accessibility for users with situational, temporary, and permanent disabilities (vision, hearing, motor, cognitive, speech).

The Three C's that influence UX for NBU

Cost: Low specification devices standard in emerging markets have less built-in storage available at higher data costs. Therefore, designers need to collaborate with engineers in building lightweight and agile apps that consume lesser data.

Connectivity: Users in emerging markets experience more connection errors, interruptions, and low speed. Building progressive web apps that consume less storage and load fast even over 2G connections and offline modes. In addition, designers must create graceful degradations for users who don't have a stable network connection.

 Complexity: Keyboard UI complexity is more for mobile users compared to desktop users. Language and OS barriers also add to the complexity. It is crucial to design for simple text strings and pair culture-oriented iconography with text to promote comprehension. Progressive enhancement and performant CSS are game-changers in designing for less complexity.

NBU Design Best Practices

Here are some design guidelines to help build apps for a huge population untouched by technology and can be the potential users among the NBU.

Use Permanent Object Positioning: For new users, it is essential to allocate spaces within the screens for certain types of actions. Assigning specific screen locations for positive actions like Save, Submit, and Confirm and negative actions like Delete, Cancel, Reject, etc., is essential.

This standardization helps build muscle memory for specific actions, and using new apps or devices becomes more effortless.

Avoid Scrolling: Scrolling would not be intuitive for new users. It is recommended to place all the information on multiple screens and provide navigation buttons instead. Thus, providing scroll hints and ensuring that the data is not "cut" exactly where the physical screen ends.

Use Elegant Screen Transitions: Using transition animation when switching between screens will help users understand that a new set of information uses the same space. However, designing a quick switch between screens doesn't allow users to switch contexts seamlessly and confuses a new user. Here are different transition types that you can use.

Use Skeuomorphism: This means that the interface should use real-world object depictions like icons for delete, erase, draw, etc., instead of using vague names or references like "x."

Build User Confidence: This is important for novice digital users, especially on finance or monetary apps. A design should let them know how to use an app to perform and complete a task and its steps. For example, messages, notifications, or conversational text like encouragement or help questions will help users make decisions and take actions more confidently on an app.

Wrapping up

Are you designing with emerging markets in mind? Radiant Digital's stellar UX design team can help you explore and tap into the new opportunities offered by the NBU. So let's connect and get talking!

Looking at the ‘Bigger Picture’ with Service Design to deliver a Unified Experience

As an emerging field, Service Design focuses on service and experience creation, curation, and implementation. As a practice, service design aims to provide a holistic service to the user through the design of systems and processes. Service design assesses and derives value from a multi-user perspective (customer, staff, and business). It is essentially channel and medium-agnostic and associates experience delivery to the operations and technology producing it. Though service design has tools and methods similar to other human-centric design fields, its perspectives help with complexity management with a multi-dimensional service approach that assures a cohesive experience.

Service Design - Formal Definition

According to Shopify, Service design is a holistic, participatory, and cross-functional approach to improving end-to-end human experiences, as delivered through digital, physical, virtual, or human touchpoints. Service experiences need to balance user, partner, employee desirability, business viability, and operational and technical feasibility.

I'm a UX Designer. Why does this matter?

Though Service Design sounds similar to UX or CX design, there's a crossover with many broader design practice disciplines. Service design merges both customer-facing outputs like a user's interaction with an app and internal processes like an employee's experience in an organization. This is the reason it is more holistic. Service design helps apply more than just end-customer needs and context. It considers the complex chains of interactions in a design. For example, booking a cab is a service, but in service design terms, it's the whole interaction chain when an elderly customer wants to book an Uber ride to visit the hospital. There's much consideration to make here. UX designers will have to ideate design solutions for user-specific ecosystems while ensuring that brands deliver optimally and sustainably.

Service Design and UX Design

How are they Similar?

  1. Empathy and design thinking: Both in UX and service design, empathy and a design-oriented mindset play pivotal roles.
  2. Personas: UX and Service Design both include creating archetypes of various user personas and summarizing values, desires, motivations, problems, cultures, and social characteristics of the imagined user or customer.
  3. Research and prototype: SD and UX both implement UX or service research and prototyping to match the real-world expectations.
  4. Strategic thinking: Designers in UX and SD need to implement strategic planning to make ideal business decisions and handle business issues.
  5. Customer journey map: Mapping out the possible customer experiences (positive and negative) while interacting with the solution and a scenario-based approach is followed in both these disciplines.

How is a Service Designer different from a UX Designer?

  • While UX designers create assets and perform the research for those assets, service designers offer more strategic value to the design process.
  • UX designers focus on design environment development, which includes products, interfaces, etc. Service designers focus on interactional design and implementation along the entire customer journey for tangible and digital mediums.
  • Service designers need to merge strategic, operations, and people management, while UX designers need to manage only the UX design and their outcomes.

Why Service Design?

Bridges Gaps and Breaks Silos: Service design can bridge departmental and interaction-related organizational gaps. It lets teams focus on customer-facing outputs and internal processes as well. Service design is holistic and covers people, processes, and props, in addition to the experience of employees. Service designers can solve problems and gain clarity by questioning prevailing assumptions. They can prioritize functionalities and remove overlaps for simplified and unified services.

Foster loyalty with Customers and Employees: Service design helps improve customer and employee loyalty by getting the service right through various methods and processes. By adopting a service design-first approach, businesses can double their customer and employee retention game.

Improve Business Efficiency: Service design reduces redundancies through streamlined processes and a bird’s-eye view. It lets designers map out the whole internal service processes cycle to render a holistic view of its service ecosystem (services, channels, touchpoints, and business interactions). It is easy to pinpoint inefficiencies leading to wasted efforts and resources. Eliminating redundancies through service design reduces costs and increases efficiency.

The Five Principles of Service Design

Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider have authored “This is Service Design Thinking, “where they define the following fundamental service design principles.

  1. User-centered – Use qualitative and user-centric research to design.
  2. Co-creative – Include all the relevant stakeholders in the design process.
  3. Sequencing – Break a complex service into isolated processes and user journey sections.
  4. Evidencing – Envision service experiences with tangible results and transparency for users to understand and trust brands.
  5. Holistic – Design for all customer touchpoints, user networks, and experiences.

What Service Design Involves 

  • Understand the service proposition of the organization or company deeply.
  • Analyze the needs of all the customers and service providers (actors) in a service.
  • Use a service ecology, blueprint, and user journeys to map out a service.
  • Co-create possible solutions or improvements by collaborating with service stakeholders.
  • Pilot new service experiences and create prototypes with real customers and staff.
  • Zoom in and out constantly between individual touchpoints in detail and the design of the overall service.

Components of Service Design

  1. Actors (Employees, stakeholders, and users of the service)
  2. Location (A virtual or physical set-up where customers receive the service or a service/design is tested/researched)
  3. Props (Objects used during service delivery like Storefronts, Conference rooms, Websites, and Digital files)
  4. Associates (Partner organizations involved in providing the service, e.g., logistics)
  5. Processes (Workflows used for service delivery, for example, getting help from a support page, interviewing a new employee, sharing a file)

The Four Pillars of Service Design

  • Assets. These represent digital or physical customer touchpoints in a design. At the same time, these include the tools used by employees to deliver the service.
  • People. This includes any direct or indirect person contributing to the service. These users work in a co-creative environment to influence and shape the design, changes, results, and experiences.
  • Policies. The company's policies, rules, standard operating procedures, and workflows direct the service provision and the customer experience.
  • Culture. These include the unwritten rules for employee attitudes and behavior. This is influenced by the company's history, employee experience, and management style.

What do Service Designers Create during this Journey?

  • User flows – Define the paths that the user travels, starting from an entry point to the end goal to complete a user interface task.
  • Personas – Defines a character representing a potential user of your website or app to help the design team target designs around users.
  • User research – Define the ways and methods of studying users and their requirements to add context, find problems and their solutions.
  • Prototypes – Define the web and mobile replicas of how the result of a product will look, usually without code, including the final UI design and interaction.
  • Future-state blueprints – Help visualize a concept's future state for a new product or service based on a specific customer's (persona) journey. Their new journey is supported by different employee roles, processes and technologies, business organizations, and third-party partners.
  • Ecosystem maps – Define the high-level service ecology and interactions between the client and the design groups. This helps assess the symbiotic functioning of products, services, and people.
  • Archetypes – Define different personality traits of all the involved users in the context of their interaction(s) with the design.
  • Service storming – Helps observe, understand, ideate, evaluate, and refine services in design for both customers and the organization.
  • Customer Journey Maps – Define the customers’ touchpoints, critical moments, interaction flows, and barriers.
  • Service blueprints- Represent the elevated forms of customer journey maps to define all the situations when users/customers can interact with brands.

A Typical Service Design Process

Service Design Methods

Core Considerations for Service Designing the Complete Experience

Here are some considerations to make if you want to accommodate your customers' environment(s) and the limitations, motivations, and feelings they'll have.

  • Understand the brand's purpose, the demand for a product or service, and all the service providers' ability to deliver.
  • Customer needs should be incorporated in the Services' design rather than shaping it based on the business' needs.
  • Design the services to deliver a unified system rather than individual components that can elevate the overall service performance.
  • Services should be designed based on the value delivered to the customers most efficiently.
  • Design Services based on the understanding that special events (those causing variations in general processes) will be treated as conventional events (and processes designed to accommodate them).
  • Always initiate service design with relevant inputs from the users of the service.
  • Build service prototypes and test them before developing them.
  • Keep a clear business case and model in place before starting with a service design.
  • Develop a Minimum Viable Service (MVS) of a service design and deploy it. Perform iterations and improvements based on user/customer feedback.
  • All the relevant stakeholders (external and internal) must be in sync and consulted before designing and delivering the service.

Wrapping up

Service design offers the ability to address design problems in their entirety while capturing all the stakeholders' perspectives in that service. It helps shape an overall service experience with attention to detail on how the service is delivered to all of the system's actors. One of the exciting things about SD is that it is vital in a service-oriented world to shape digital experiences and build futuristic digital ecosystems.

Radiant Digital helps enterprises deliver the 'complete' experience through service-oriented design. Call us to learn more.