Author Archive | Eric Olive

Mangled Mental Models: How Poor UX Methodology Hurts Your Bottom Line

“What do you mean, we don’t have what we need? We have marketing profiles. That’s enough!” blurted the project manager at a large financial services company. The discussion had begun amicably but had quickly spiraled into a tense debate about the company’s most important B2B customers. As always, I felt it necessary to advocate for […]

Study of Human Behavior

“This is stupid!” she exclaimed in a thick, New Jersey accent. The object of this invective? A web site. The setting? A usability test in the lab. The result? Priceless. As the moderator, nothing I could ever say or do would convey the power of those three, simple words. It doesn’t get any better (or […]

Why Biology and Decision Making Don’t Mix

On a cool January evening in Florida, NASA leaders held a teleconference to discuss a space shuttle launch scheduled for the next day. Engineer Roger Boisjoly argued that the low temperatures would likely erode the O-Rings, an essential part of the solid rocket boosters. If damaged, the O-Rings would fail, almost certainly leading to disaster. […]

How to Improve Communication Skills—3 Steps to Better Communication

As discussed in a previous post about mangled communication, conversations often go wrong because the speaker omits key facts or unknowingly provides biased information. The reason is the signal amplification bias; we often communicate less information than we think we have. These “sender” problems are exacerbated when the listener makes assumptions about the meanings of […]

Decision Drivers: What Really Influences Your Decisions And Why You Should Care

Decision Drivers We are often unaware of significant and unconscious decision drivers. The five posts summarized below offer insight into the mysterious workings of the human brain and what truly drives our decisions. Are Human Decisions Eminently Rational, Hopelessly Irrational, or Neither? In this intriguing post, influence guru Robert Cialdini outlines the traditional poles in […]

Cognitive Biases—The Confirmation Bias

The confirmation bias refers to the tendency to favor information that reinforces our existing beliefs. As Andrew McVagh cleverly puts it in his post about the confirmation bias, “Did you know your brain is a yes-man, telling you only what you want to hear? He’s right, and we witness this bias in the current, highly […]

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