This week a column for Search Engine Land (How Does Your Web Site Make Visitors Feel? by Kim Krause Berg, 24 April 2009) showed us a glimpse of such a 'twilight zone', forcing readers to look away from technology and gaze into the shadows where science and mysticism come to play.
Surprisingly the 'mystical' unseen human energies, i.e. chi, that Kim mentions are being increasingly investigated - as real and important forces - by serious science.
I’m fascinated by web sites and how, or if, they affect us emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. As a web site designer, what special power do you hold in your artistic hands? As a blogger, what kind of reaction are you seeking from readers? As a well branded company, are there in-house human instabilities that can be sensed by your online consumers?
For months now I’ve been tackling the theory that our online behavior and the actions we take after visiting a web site are somehow tied to, or dependent on, unseen energy forces. It’s not unlike how we physically feel when we’re exposed to people, environments or situations.
If you can agree to some extent that there are vibrational fields, auras, energy fields and other unseen forces around our bodies, than you might be interested in some of the research on the “spiritual brain”, neuroscience, evolution of the mind, evolution psychology, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Why would energies matter in user experience design? Do they come into play with marketing and online branding?
When you scan Twitter, how do feel about some of the comments made there? Do they make any part of your body feel good or bad while reading them? Do you tense up? Do you bypass users who are always bringing you down?
In the book, The Brand Bubble by John Gerzema and Ed Lebar, there is a section on how to create what the authors call the “energy-driven enterprise.” They, too, are exploring energy. They feel that a firm can create a competitive advantage by generating brand, organizational, operational and cultural energy.
Are you familiar with Buddist and Taoist literature?
Have you read The Over-Soul from Essays: First Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson?
Do you know why Carl Jung felt the need for the term 'collective unconscious'?
Have you considered Timothy Leary's '8-Circuit Model of Consciousness'?
Have you perused the many areas of discipline within neuroscience?
Did you know that:
* computational neuroscience gives us Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, pattern recognition, swarm intelligence (SI), and much much more?
* neural engineering is providing neuroprosthetics? Want a brain computer interface?
* neurolinguistics is shedding light on language acquisition, sentence processing, and speech perception?
* (social-)affective neuroscience studies the emotional brain?
The list goes on and on.
For a more practical webdev take read Roger Dooley's Neuromarketing, Where Brain Science and Marketing Meet.
Medicine is slowly merging the traditions, knowledge, and solutions of east and west. Increasingly science is finding that lore and mysticism have real, practical roots.
People 'know' things. Wives and mothers have known when husbands and sons were killed overseas, or when badly injured and where, often feeling similar pain in the equivalent body area. Why do we immediately like or dislike some people? Why do some places give us the creeps - in broad daylight?
What is 'it' about a website that attracts or repells us? How much is universal, how much societal? How much of such responses is ratiuonal? Emotional?
Currently webdevs run A/B or multivariate testing to find that which most appeals (or at least what most converts?). But. What about those who do not convert - a 30% conversion rate still means 70% not. So we test some more on the remainder, if they are still around.
Wouldn't it be loverly if we had some science behind the demographic emotional triggers of our visitors? Where tests, while not eliminated, could be used to fine tune rather than coarsely filter. Where we actually had some idea, not simply of eye tracking probabilities by of brain paths affected - and what that really means. It is happening and looks to become a deluge of actionable information.
People, including our visitors, are emotional creatures. Forgetting that and treating them as if they were just another bot is not good business.
Welcome to the 'twilight web'.