Shortly after I wrote about Decision Architecture/Choice Architecture (in the previous post), someone appeared on my doorstep to demonstrate. A volunteer canvasser rang my doorbell, and encouraged me to vote. Some details are changed here to protect the innocent. Here is the conversation:
me: “Yes, thank you for volunteering. We plan to vote.”
her: “Great! Do you know where your polling center is?”
her: “Great! Will you be voting in the morning or afternoon?”
me: (confused, then annoyed with what I initially perceived as invasion of privacy) “We’re voting! Why do you ask if it is the morning or afternoon?”
her: “I don’t know. I’m just filling out this form they gave me.”
The decision architects set up the form in such a way that the cavasser’s question made me picture the location of the polling site. She (courtesy of the form) then had me think about when I would complete the task – turning it into an action that I had to do either in the morning or afternoon. Before I (or any other survey respondent) would be able to answer, I would have to imagine my upcoming day, and whether fitting the voting task in the morning or evening would be better, thereby mentally cataloguing it as a “to-do” on that day! And on top of all of that – verbally commiting to it, and seeing it written down on a form – well – the survey architects just clinch the deal. Without even the least bit of assistance from the unknowning canvasser!
I was very impressed with the simplicity and expected results of this. I wonder what the statistics have to say about the results? I suppose if it wasn’t effective they wouldn’t be doing it, would they? Any one have any data or experience with this? I’m going to be watching out for more examples as this is fascinating to me!
Oh yeah. The election. Oh well. Maybe the technique didn’t work quite as well as they expected: Scott Walker wants national role.