Abstract
Not sure exactly what will happen here yet since I don’t know my results. This will definitely include a brief rundown of my findings, how I set up my experiment, and what it means for designing interactive digital environments that ask users to make “risky” choices

Introduction
I’m interested in changes in the visual and sonic makeup of a digital environments may change how we perceive and take risks in said digital environment. In order to test common user reactions to risky scenarios, I have created and recorded interactions with a series of digital interfaces, to see if there is any difference in our willingness to take risks when confronted with each unique interface.

Background
A popular theory in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics is called Prospect Theory. This theory states that we are more risk-prone when we might lose something, and risk-averse when we stand to gain something. These are behaviors my digital environments are attempting to combat.

  • Prospect Theory
  • Utility Theory
  • Common decision-making heuristics that apply
  • Visual design in risk-taking environments
  • Sonic design in risk-taking environments
  • Physical layouts of risk-taking environments
  • Current state of digital risk-taking environments
    • Online casinos
    • Text choices in games
    • Personal data forms
  • Citations

Project
3.1 Description and Rationale
I’m attempting to make a digital environment that challenges Prospect Theory. By adding attractive (or unattractive) visual and sonic elements and ultimately superfluous interactive elements, I hope to better understand how a digital interface can change how we take risks.

3.2 Methodologies
Ethnography, sociology, participatory design and speculative design. I will create a series of interfaces and test them on users who vary in age. I will collect data about their decision-making habits and their ages, and interview them after each test to collect information about how their decisions were or were not influenced by the interface.

3.3 Methods
I plan on making a series of interfaces that have users start with a certain amount of money. In the control interface, they are asked to either receive a gift of more money, or gamble to either win or lose half of their money. According to prospect theory, people should choose the gift. Their reaction will be timed.

In the experimental interfaces, users will be confronted with the choices, with the risky choice appearing significantly more visually/sonically attractive (and/or the conservation choice appearing significantly less attractive). Their reaction to this interface will be timed and compared to the cont

In the experimental interfaces, users will be confronted with the choices, with the risky choice appearing significantly more visually/sonically attractive (and/or the conservation choice appearing significantly less attractive). Their reaction to this interface will be timed and compared to the control.

Users will be interviewed to see if anything visually/sonically could have persuaded them to make a different choice in either interface. Users will also be asked if the experience made them happy or sad. Did they have fun? They should feel free to be honest. What could have made the experience more fun?

I will create several rounds of prototypes based on the user feedback, testing each in as similar manner as possible to the first round.

3.4 Results and Discussion

User reaction time and feedback to each interface will be recorded and displayed first in tables, then in data visualization graphics.

Conclusion
Wish I knew. This is probably include a discussion of the results of my study, and whether or not it confirms that we are more likely to take risks in certain digital environments. It will also discuss if age had any obvious impact on our willingness to take risks in certain digital environments. Most importantly, i will include a discussion of whether or not Prospect Theory appears to be consistent with my test results.

Future Perspectives
Again, I’m not sure exactly what will go here, but I’m pretty sure I will write about what I would do differently in my study if I did it again. I will also discuss what practical applications my findings will have for UX designers who are designing environments that they want people to feel safe/tempted by. Above all, I want this section to include a discussion of what users of digital interfaces should be aware of in order to not be manipulated by digital environments that may be asking them to take risks that they normally would not be comfortable with.