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Design for How People Think by John Whalen

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Chapter 1 The Six Minds of Experience

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The Six Minds of Experience

Surely it is the case that there are hundreds of cognitive processes happening every second in your brain. But to simplify to a level that might be more relevant to product and service design, I propose that we limit ourselves to a subset that we can realistically measure and influence.

What are these processes and what are their functions? Let’s use a concrete example to explain them. Consider the act of purchasing a chair suitable for your mid-century modern house. Perhaps you might be interested in a classic design from that period, like the Eames chair and ottoman shown in Figure 1-1. You are seeking to buy this online and browsing an ecommerce site.

Figure 1-1

Eames chair and ottoman

Vision, Attention, and Automaticity

As you first land on the furniture website to look for chairs, your attention and eyes might be drawn to the pictures to make sure you are on the right site. You might choose to look for the search option to type in “Eames chair.” You might also scan the page for words such as “furniture,” or for the word “chair,” from which you might look for the appropriate category of chair. If you don’t find “chair,” you might look for other words that might represent a category that includes chairs. Let’s suppose on scanning the options shown in Figure 1-2, you pick the “Living” option.

Figure 1-2 ...

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