Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics
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A new wave of products is helping people change their behavior and daily routines, whether it’s exercising more (Jawbone Up), taking control of their finances (HelloWallet), or organizing their email (Mailbox). This practical guide shows you how to design these types of products for users seeking to take action and achieve specific goals.
Stephen Wendel, HelloWallet’s head researcher, takes you step-by-step through the process of applying behavioral economics and psychology to the practical problems of product design and development. Using a combination of lean and agile development methods, you’ll learn a simple iterative approach for identifying target users and behaviors, building the product, and gauging its effectiveness. Discover how to create easy-to-use products to help people make positive changes.
- Learn the three main strategies to help people change behavior
- Identify your target audience and the behaviors they seek to change
- Extract user stories and identify obstacles to behavior change
- Develop effective interface designs that are enjoyable to use
- Measure your product’s impact and learn ways to improve it
- Use practical examples from products like Nest, Fitbit, and Opower
once “good” habits are formed, they provide the most resilient and sustainable way to maintain a new behavior. Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit (Random House, 2012), gives a great example. In the early 1900s, advertising man Claude C. Hopkins moved American society from being one in which very few people brushed their teeth to a majority brushing their teeth in the span of only 10 years. He did it by helping Americans form the habit of brushing:24 1. He taught people a cue—feeling for tooth
want to do, or whether they have the motivation to use your app, you’re engaging their conscious minds. But it’s their intuitive minds you have to pass first, and that isn’t something people articulate on surveys. Ideally, watch their behavior, and don’t listen to their mouths. The first-time user experience really matters. You may be able to convince or entice someone to try out your product and action the first time. But the more your action requires repeated use, the more that you rely on
If the other preconditions for action are in place now, it’s likely they will also be in place when the person has the ability to act. But the situation may change—other distractions could arise, the cost of action may go up, and so on. | Why We Take Certain Actions and Not Others 35 Lessons for Behavioral Products This step poses four possible barriers to action, which a good product must avoid. Products can readily help users by providing a clear action plan; specific plans grease the
the cameras have default settings that are dirt simple and would provide a good picture in most scenarios. In addition, they have all of the fancy bells and whistles that make the product more attractive and expensive than a bargain-basement camera. Similar defaults are common in computer software (“Would you like the standard install or the scary customized one?”)—the options are there, but the software makers have provided intelligent defaults so most people don’t have to worry about them and
interviewing, and/or surveying existing users to understand their views of the application, their frustrations, and their joys. Make sure to include some direct observation of people as they go about their lives and use the application. 80 It also means analyzing existing usage patterns within the application to see what parts of the application have been successful at catching users’ attention. Especially important is measuring the behaviors of users on tasks related to the application’s