Good guy Aristotle: Helping flourish UX culture since 350 BC

There are times when We, UX Engineers get frustrated over our work. That's very normal and often we have tools and techniques up our sleeves to get around these kinds of situations.

However, when it comes to clients or peers, we all have that fear of confrontation, fear of being challenged and rejected. This is very common among people and anyone who has something to say or show.

Sometimes your valuable and unique work may result in rejection when presented to others. This may affect your work in two ways,

  • You might get hurt/unmotivated.
  • You might be wasting a good/novel idea.

This is bad influence on your career and is also a waste of time and resources when looking at your employers perspective.

Lets go back in time to find answers to this problem

Aristotle was one of the founding forefathers who lived in the classical era, which started around 4th century bc. He contributed to many areas of western philosophy including science and art.

But, some of the coolest things among his teachings are used in modern UX principles even today. Ever heard of the Art of Persuasion?

This is a set of techniques that Aristotle came up with saying that using these 3 techniques, anyone can persuade another with an idea. He called it the Rhetoric, the treatise on the art of persuasion. He wrote these amazing theories on manipulating ideas and convincing people as an art. There are 3 books written as a very long and detailed explanation on his teachings and theory. Let’s see how the essence of it will help us to convince our ideas and designs and make a point across our audience.

Modes of Persuasion

Aristotle claimed that there are 3 ways that someone could be persuaded. These are deemed as ethical strategies a speaker/presenter must have in order to successfully deliver his or her intentions.

Ethos

/ˈiːθɒs/ in greek, Ethos means “Appeal to authority” or simply put, how do we present ourselves as a presenter, how much credibility we bring into our speech/presentation.

It is human nature to judge character by appearance and behaviours. Just like any other field of work, you need to demonstrate expertise on the work you do in order to make them convinced.

In addition, you should be able to show practical knowledge of the topic and show moral character towards your concept. It should be apparent that you care for your idea and design and the arguments are to be delivered conveying the audience that you are doing this with only good intentions.

Pathos

/ˈpeɪθɒs/ in greek, Pathos means “Appeal to audience’s emotional needs”. What better way to make sure your audience sympathize with you other than reading the atmosphere and move along with the flow. Pathos is exactly that.

Another human nature is to sympathize with another, and by doing so, we tend to agree with a sentiment or another’s opinion. This calls for emotions when we deliver a speech or a presentation. Showing emotional outbursts and building up a story is basic to achieve this quality.

Using multimedia as an aid is very important as drawing a picture in the listener's head will mark your intentions. vivid language and elaborative yet concise words may further aid the cause.

Logos

lógɒs/ in greek, Logos means “Appeal to logic” which obviously means to convince the audience by use of logic or reason. The third and the last mode of persuasion is logic. The best tool to deflect negative criticism and to further prove a point.

We all like things to be explainable, understandable. so we like our reasons to be logical. same goes to what we pitch to our audience. Everything from a single word in a document to a product should be logical. That is the way human brain understands and confirms things.

logic is citings facts and statistics, things that are historically proven will always convince people to see an argument trustworthy. Its also necessary to build your arguments logically as it will withstand when challenged.


Here are the three pillars, a form of art that we all have been consciously or unconsciously have been practicing since early days. We use it in our day to day lives and it’s safe to say that we apply these three principal methods in our work life too. Knowing what you need to deliver as a UX Engineer is very important and these three will help you prepare yourself for it.

New ideas and great things must be felt by heart before seeing an actual product. Its amazing to see these persuasion methods that was recognized 2000 years ago are foundational to most of our human interactions happening today..!