Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UX Psychology - A Human Needs Check on Sustainability

This week I attended the UXPS - UX and Psychology event - A Human Needs Check on Sustainability.

At first glance that title seems a bit full on, so let’s break that down a bit.

Hopefully you’re aware of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where he lists out all the things humans need to live their best lives.

Our speaker Dr Guido Beier has spent a lot of time looking at human needs and has come up with a massive list of 77 human needs!

But what’s that got to do with Sustainability? Well Dr Beier believes that these needs can help and hinder our work towards a more sustainable world and understanding them can help us to make a difference.

As an example, why do people find it so hard to lose weight and get fit? Because we’re not very good at planning for the consequences especially when they are so slow, like gaining weight or polluting the planet. We’re much better at the here and now.

This was the first need that Dr Beier talked about. Our need for Feedback.

So what needs can we use to help us make good sustainable decisions and which needs should we watch out for? After all sustainability itself isn’t a human need.

Needs like Competency can be used to our advantage, people like to feel they are doing the right thing.

We should also use Respect, as people don’t like to feel used or made a fool of.

But we need to be careful, people are lazy so we need to make things really easy for them too.

He talked in lots of detail on this subject, pulling out the needs we could use and the ones to be aware of, and I found it fascinating.

It helped me to understand why I behave in certain ways to certain triggers and why others might react in a different way. And I really love the idea that everything doesn’t have to be as hopeless as the media will sometimes have us believe.

A great talk and I loved learning more about the psychology of humans.

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