Chapter 82. The Persuasion Formula

Forcing users to do things is usually a bad idea. People don’t like being forced. Instead, we must convince them to take action, and the process of “convincing” tends to follow a simple eight-step formula.


Persuasion is complex. My book, The Composite Persuasion, is 270 pages specifically about making things persuasive, and it is only a “Crash Course”!

The Persuasion Formula

After comparing 40 different types of persuaders, I found that all of their methods share 8 common attributes, listed below.

Before the Interaction


Without trust, everything else is irrelevant. Ideally you should build your credibility for real; however, the main thing is to communicate with others in a high-value way. In UX, this applies to everything from trustworthy branding, to transparency about your prices, to testimonies from customers. Don’t say you’re valuable; show that value to your users.

Know your audience

In UX, that means you do your user research so you know who you are persuading and what they care about.

During the Interaction

Open and disarm

You have to engage the user’s interest immediately and then proceed to remove any obvious objections they might have. In UX, this can be a great headline or an eye-catching image above the fold. If price is a concern, for example, that should be part of the first information the user can see. Don’t assume they will continue far enough to learn about it later.

Create rapport

(Say rah-por) is the feeling of getting along ...

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.