The UX of Fairness

Take a look at this fascinating 1 minute video.

How can a little monkey like that have such an immediate and intense reaction to something that is unfair?  We clearly have a fairness gene.  Something in our brains that reacts strongly to this sort of situation.  The little monkey is the 99%!

How many different reactions are just “built-in”?  This is the kind of thing UX is all about.  How are our brains wired and what can we do to design experiences that make people really happy?  This makes me wonder about gamification and other systems that pit users against one another.  If it’s built-in behavior to hate unfairness, how can we design with that in mind?

On the system that i design, we actually built in a piece of technology called the “fairness engine”.  It allocates resources of a shared system to everyone in such a way that one user doesn’t hog the resources of the whole group.  It takes extra thinking, but it makes a difference in the system dynamics and whether people love your product or not.


Whatya think?