Chapter 36. Memory

The experiences you remember are not complete, accurate, honest, and sometimes they aren’t even real. That means it is possible to “design” what people remember.

Memory Is Really Cool

This lesson barely scratches the surface.

You base a lot of decisions on your memories, but your long-term memories might be different than they appear. Our brains don’t record memories like a video. Memories are reconstructed, from associations, each time you think about them. But associations change over time. You might become an expert in physics, or grow out of your go-to-school-dressed-like-a-vampire phase.

That means it will become impossible for you to remember physics like a beginner, or to think about fake fangs as a cool accessory. Each time you remember something, you change that memory forever.

All Memories Are Not Created Equal

Your brain puts more emphasis on the experiences that have stronger feelings and more “novelty” (they grabbed your attention, at the time). Your brain is also good at remembering patterns and things you do over and over. That’s called practice, or a habit, or muscle memory.

As a UX Designer

You should read those last few sentences as tools that you can use in your designs. Part of that is done by using all the skills you have learned so far. Part of that is done after the experience is over.

Emphasize with Bias

In my book The Composite Persuasion, I dedicated a whole chapter to the idea of changing people’s memories. Here are a few tips:

Remind them of the ...

Get UX for Beginners now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.