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How design controls behavior

Design dictates behavior.

Put a feature front and center like Instagram or Facebook Stories and it’s nearly impossible not to click.

Keep a smartphone around while you’re doing work or eating and you’ll fight the urge to pick it up.

Listen to enough conspiracy theories and you’re bound to think that they’re true regardless of the evidence.

Design strips the will of its own control. But it also provides a two-way street.

Design gave Macs an identity. Before Apple, computers looked like refrigerator units. SATs are designed to filter out lazy students. International airport queues divide national and international passports.

Design regulates everything from impulse, order, to culture. Knowing what’s marketing, what’s propaganda, and what’s pragmatically useful is a practice in design.

When you step back and reset the framework, all the design features are up to you.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of Discvr.blog and four books.