The Default 99 Comments

What I call reading today is not what reading is really is? I continue to buy books but just use them for reference or skim through it as fast as I can while I am simultaneously listening to music.

I can’t really remember reading a full book with no distractions. The default reading for me is skimming through the chapters.

Behaviorist, usability testers, market researchers and psychologists among others study human characteristics. My latest read was about the default makeup of a human personalities as well as day-to-day tendencies.

The study was that “the default” influences your daily lives more than what you think. For example, if you set up through your checking account to automatically deduct 200$ a month to your savings; then it takes no additional action for you to save 200$ a month – hence it’s the default.

Market researchers are so well aware of this that they make you decisions’ that better suit them.

Based on an example I once heard on NPR, regarding the cost of healthcare; doctors are more likely to order more tests on a individuals if the form they fill out for is prefilled based on symptoms. i.e. if the default form preselected check boxes by the hospitals computers, doctors spend more money on tests; compare that if the form is blank and the doctor has to write down the tests based on the patients symptoms.

The default is your brains way making some choices for you. They call it Default network

A few years ago, a client asked me to increase the number of people opting in for the monthly e-mails to customers by redesigning the e-newsletter. I redesigned it email layout without changing the content but after months of trail and error, we realized that people are 3-4 times more likely to opt in to receive emails if the checkbox signifying interest was by default checked.

The point is that the default matters! Now you don’t have to read the book

99 Responses to “The Default”


  1. 1 ep

    I think you should apply this on bernos so that we readers opt to read the blogs rather than just skim through :)

  2. 2 Soeur

    I knew we are lazy and we mostly look for the easy way out but somehow I thought we would be different on important things.

    Did the researchers talk about ways to make
    lifes best practices as the default.

  3. 3 mesraq

    The cost of healthcare is high by default huh!

  4. 4 chomp

    in college, i started this habit of reading several books at once. at first i felt like a genius. my boyfriend thought it was ridiculous. so one day he decided to quiz me on what i read….and i barely recalled anything. no retention. of course i’ve reverted back to one-at-a-time policy.

  5. 5 temelkach

    how about reading one book per week? Nolawi, i think thats the best prescription for your reading malady. just think of it. if you can read thirty pages a day, you can finish a two hunred fifty page book by the end of the week.

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