Understanding consumer psychology and online behavior has become essential and mainstream knowledge for e-commerce development in 2012.  While some of us might regret that the cat is out of the bag, it also means a lot of smart people are figuring out a lot of smart things.  Below are what I found to be the most insightful and actionable articles in 2012. There’s two things mostly missing: Recommender systems are still exclusively the domain of data crunching and algorithms, while I’d like to see more on inspiration and getting people out of the filter bubble. The other thing I haven’t seen much of in 2012 is any interesting work on stickiness and loyalty. If you follow my twitter feed, you’ve seen[…]

I’ve always felt that the idea of repeated significance testing error and false positive rates is a bit of a pedantic academic exercise.  And I’m not the only one, some A/B frameworks let you automatically stop or conclude at the moment of significance, and there’s is blessed little discussion of false positive rates online. For anyone running A/B tests it’s also little incentive to control your false positives. Why make it harder for yourself to show successful changes, just to meet some standard no-one cares about anyways? It’s not that easy. Because it actually matters, and matters a lot if you care about your A/B experiments, and not the least about what you learn from them. Evan Miller has written a[…]

Interested in discussing psychology and software development? I’m at the OSCON in Portland, Oregon all week this and I would be really interested to chat with others interested in psychology. I’m mainly at the conference to help hiring for Booking.com so come and ask for me at the Booking.com stand in the Expo hall. And if you’re interested in any of the many positions we’re looking to fill also drop by, of course! Have a look at our available openings at the Booking.com jobs portal. We’re still trying to get hold of many, many experienced Perl developers, and we’re also willing to teach highly experienced developers in other languages Perl.

A funny discussion is going on at HBR Blogs:  Management-type blogger Bill Taylor suggests our culture wrongly celebrates the super-stars, and claims great people are overrated, on the cost of well-functioning teams (via Igor Sutton). But, to illustrate his example he uses software engineers as an example. Cue outpouring of frustration – Bill’s getting hammered in the comment section. So what’s the problem? First, try to look past that Bill skipped 30 years of research and experience in software engineering and stamps into it like a PHB-cliche, seemingly assuming his opinion is as valid as any research on the subject. That alone probably ticked off the defensive reaction in any software developer accidentally stumbling into the Harvard Business Review blog[…]

Trying to learn more about how emotion affects ecommerce, I came across the book “eMotion: Estimation of User’s Emotional State by Mouse Motions” by Wolfgang Maehr.  Basically, Wolfgang Maehr found that you can correlate certain types of mouse movements with emotional states.  Specifically, he found that mouse acceleration, deceleration, speed and uniformity could predict arousal, disgust/delight, and anger/contendedness, all in a sample of 39 participants. But… how is this not available to me in a handy javascript library?   I am just dreaming of reading off the emotional state of website visitors per page.  Or per blog post for that matter… If you know of anyone who has made any implementation of something like this, please please leave a comment![…]

I just want to share these very cool lists of cognitive biases.  It’s so useful to just have an overview of these on hand – and obviously I’m not the only one thinking so, as there are several useful collections out there: 50 Scientifically proven ways to be persuasive A Visual Study Guide To Cognitive Biases – They’re beautiful. Stephen Anderson’s Mental Notes cards: Get Mental Notes: It’s printed and in a leather box! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases – The plain overview The Psychologist View of UX Design. A less comprehensive, but still useful, list, by Susan Weinschenk UPDATE: Cognitive Bias survival guide – visually pleasing overview by GeekWrapped UPDATE: Wheel of Persuasion by Bart Schutz – hidden behind a login UPDATE: Cognitive[…]

Tony Schwartz/Harvard Business Review has an interesting bullet point list of what is necessary to excel in any field: Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything It’s based on Anders Ericsson’s work in the field, and holds as well for computer programmers as practitioners in any other field. See also: Accelerate your Perl learning