Does viewing the graphic to the left make you more likely to disclose embarrassing information on a website? Improbably yes!
A CMU study recently found that the design and visual cues of website greatly impacted the level of disclosure people made. The more amateurish the website, the more willing they were to admit to bad behavior.
For example when presented with the question on a simple looking website, 19.7% of students admitted to having covertly watched someone undressed. The same question on a more professional looking site? Only 4.7% admit to spying.
"The little devil face sort of winks at you, suggesting it's okay to do bad stuff," said one of the paper's authors.
Implications for product managers:
- Formal looking design is not always superior choice when trying to get people to reveal about themselves.
- Creating cues that make people feel a certain way and suggest the behavior you want from them can very much influence their actions (see Cialdini's Influence for great examples)