Designing for Behavior Change

Book description

The second edition of this title can be found here.

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

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Table of contents

  1. Designing for Behavior Change
  2. Foreword
  3. Preface
    1. What Does It Mean to Design for Behavior Change?
      1. The “Design” Part of Designing for Behavior Change
      2. Designing for Behavior Change in an Agile or Lean World
    2. Who This Book Is For
      1. Combining Research, Data, and Product Expertise
      2. What Do You Need to Know to Benefit from This Book?
    3. What Types of Behaviors Can This Help With?
      1. What This Book Is Not About
      2. Behavior Change and the Dark Arts
        1. The Dark Arts are Similar…
        2. …But Not Identical
        3. And Hopefully, This is More Sustainable
    4. How This Book Came About
    5. The Chapters Ahead
    6. Let’s Talk
    7. Acknowledgments
      1. Research and Inspiration
  4. I. Understanding the Mind and Behavior Change
    1. 1. How the Mind Decides What to Do Next
      1. The Deliberative and Intuitive Mind
      2. Making Sense of the Mind
      3. Most of the Time, We’re Not Actually “Choosing” What to Do Next
        1. Our Prior Experiences Guide Our Intuitive Reactions and Behavior, Without Us Necessarily Knowing It
        2. Habits Drive Intuitive Behaviors in Predictable Ways
        3. How We Respond and Interact with the World Is Malleable
      4. Even When We “Choose,” Our Minds Save Work
        1. We Find Easier Problems
        2. Our Peers Provide Answers
        3. Our Mental Resources Are Sorely Limited
      5. The Obvious, Simple Stuff Is Really Important
      6. A Map of the Decision-Making Process
      7. On a Napkin
    2. 2. Why We Take Certain Actions and Not Others
      1. A Simple Model of When, and Why, We Act
        1. Cue
        2. Reaction
        3. Evaluation
        4. Ability
        5. Timing
      2. The Create Action Funnel
        1. Each Stage Is Relative
        2. Each Stage Is Personal
        3. The Stages Can Interact with One Another
        4. The Funnel Repeats Each Time the Person Acts
        5. Each Time Through the Funnel Is Different
      3. On a Napkin
    3. 3. Strategies for Behavior Change
      1. A Decision or a Reaction: Three Strategies to Change Behavior
      2. Strategy 1: Cheat!
        1. Strategies to Cheat at One-Time Actions
          1. Default It
          2. Make It Incidental
        2. Strategies to Cheat at Repeated Actions
          1. Automate the Act of Repetition
        3. But Isn’t Cheating Well, Cheating?
        4. Cheating at the Action Funnel
      3. Strategy 2: Make or Change Habits
        1. Habits Simplify Behavior
        2. How to Build Them
        3. Changing Existing Habits
          1. Option 1: Help the Person Avoid the CUE
          2. Option 2: Change the Habit into Something Else
          3. Option 3: Use Conscious Interference
          4. Option 4: Use Mindfulness
          5. Option 5: Crowding Out Old Habits
      4. Strategy 3: Support the Conscious Action
      5. A Recap of the Three Strategies
      6. On a Napkin
  5. II. Discovering the Right Outcome, Action, and Actor
    1. 4. Figuring Out What You Want to Accomplish
      1. Start with the Product Vision
      2. Nail Down the Target Outcome
        1. Clarify the Outcome
          1. Avoid States of Mind
          2. Other Ways to Arrive at a Definition of Outcomes
          3. Prioritize and Combine
          4. Avoid Stating How the Product (Might) Do It
          5. Why Go Through the Trouble?
          6. What if No One can Agree On the Product’s Intended Outcome?
        2. Working with Company-Centric Goals
          1. State the Vision
          2. State the Company’s Objectives
          3. Define the User Outcomes
      3. Identify Additional Constraints
      4. Generate a List of Possible Actions for Users to Take
        1. Clarify Each Action
        2. Techniques for Generating Ideas
        3. Look for the Minimum Viable Action in Each Case
        4. Examples from Various Domains
      5. On a Napkin
    2. 5. Selecting the Right Target Action
      1. Research Your Target Users
        1. Who Are the Target Users?
        2. How Do the People Behave in Daily Life?
        3. How Do the People Behave in the Application?
        4. Generate Personas
          1. Repeat the Process for Each Potential Action
          2. Two Techniques for Generating Them
      2. Select the Ideal Target Action
      3. Define Success and Failure
      4. How to Handle Very Diverse Populations
        1. Planning for Adaptation or Personalization
        2. Narrowing Down the Target Audience
      5. On a Napkin
  6. III. Developing the Conceptual Design
    1. 6. Structuring the Action
      1. Start the Behavioral Plan
        1. Write or Draw It Out, and Add Behavioral Detail
      2. Tailor It
      3. Simplify It
        1. Pare It Down to the Minimum Viable Action
        2. Cheat If You Can
        3. Identify Potential Habits
      4. Make It “Easy”
        1. Combine Where Possible
        2. Avoid Common Mistakes
          1. It is Easy!
          2. Hard Work Builds Commitment
        3. Provide “Small Wins”
      5. On a Napkin
    2. 7. Constructing the Environment
      1. Tactics You Can Use
      2. Increase Motivation
        1. Leverage Existing Motivations Before Adding New Ones
        2. Avoid Punishing Your Users
        3. Test Out Different Types of Motivators
        4. Pull Future Motivations into the Present
        5. Don’t Forget the Other Preconditions for Action
      3. Cue the User to Act
      4. Generate a Feedback Loop
      5. Knock Out the Competition
      6. Remove or Avoid Obstacles
      7. Update the Behavioral Plan
      8. On A Napkin
    3. 8. Preparing the User
      1. Tactics You Can Use
      2. Narrate the Past to Support Future Action
      3. Associate with the Positive and the Familiar
      4. Educate Your Users
      5. How Training Your Users Fits In
      6. Update the Behavioral Plan
      7. How Behavior Change Techniques Relate to the Thought the Behavior Requires
      8. On a Napkin
  7. IV. Designing the Interface and Implementing It
    1. 9. Moving from Conceptual Designs to Interface Designs
      1. Take Stock
      2. Extract the Stories or Specs
        1. Agile+Lean
        2. Sequential Development
        3. There Are Many Sources for Specs and Stories
        4. Don’t Specify the Interface Just Yet
      3. Provide Structure for Magic to Occur
        1. Product Design Patterns for Behavior Change
          1. High-Touch Approaches
          2. Low-Touch Behavior Change
          3. How to Use Design Patterns
        2. Draw It Out
        3. A Cautionary Tale: My 2012 Exercise Band
      4. On a Napkin
    2. 10. Reviewing and Fleshing Out the Interface Designs
      1. Look for Big Gaps
        1. What You’re Looking For: The Create Action Funnel
        2. How to Fix the Big Gaps: Action-Environment-User
      2. Look for Tactical Opportunities
        1. Tactics for Cueing
          1. Tell the User What the Action is (and Ask for It)
          2. Make It Clear Where to Act
          3. Clear the Page of Distractions
          4. Bonus Tactic: Blinking Text
        2. Tactics Related to the Intuitive Reaction
          1. Make the Site Professional and Beautiful
          2. Deploy Social Proof
          3. Display Strong Authority On the Subject
          4. Be Authentic and Personal
        3. Tactics Related to the Conscious Evaluation
          1. Prime User-Relevant Associations
          2. Leverage Loss Aversion
          3. Use Peer Comparisons
          4. Use Competition
          5. Avoid Cognitive Overhead
          6. Avoid Choice Overload
          7. Avoid Direct Payments
        4. Tactics Related to the User’s Ability to Act
          1. Elicit Implementation Intentions
          2. Default Everything
          3. Lessen the Burden of Action and Information (Cheat!)
          4. Deploy Peer Comparisons
        5. Tactics Related to When the Timing Is Right for Action
          1. Frame Text to Avoid Temporal Myopia
          2. Remind of Prior Commitment to Act
          3. Make Commitments to Friends
          4. Make a Reward Scarce
        6. Update the Interface Designs
      3. On a Napkin
    3. 11. Turning the Designs into Code
      1. Put the Interface Design in Front of Users
        1. Keep in Mind What the Team Defines as “Success”
        2. Look for Behavioral Feedback
        3. Finalize the Designs
      2. Build the Product
        1. Plan and Prioritize Engineering Resources
        2. Evaluate Engineering Trade-Offs
        3. Test It
      3. Go Lean If Possible
      4. On a Napkin
  8. V. Refining the Product
    1. 12. Measuring Impact
      1. Why Measure Impact?
      2. Where to Start: Outcomes and Metrics
        1. Make Sure the Target Outcome Is Clear
        2. Define Metrics for the Outcome and Action
          1. Action: User Exercises
          2. Action: User Studies New Language
        3. Set the Thresholds for Success and Failure
      3. How to Measure Those Metrics
        1. Measuring Behaviors Within the Product
        2. Measuring Behaviors Outside of the Product
      4. Determining Impact: Running Experiments
        1. How Many People Do You Need?
        2. Is There Really an Impact?
        3. Running Multiple Versions at Once
        4. How Do You Do Random Assignment in Practice?
          1. You Already Know Your Users
          2. You Don’t Know the Users Yet
        5. More Advanced Experimental Designs
          1. Staggered Rollout
          2. Matching and Quasi-Experiments
        6. Build It In, Hook It Up
      5. Determining Impact: Unique Actions and Outcomes
      6. Other Ways to Determine Impact
        1. A Pre-Post Look at Impact
        2. A Cross-Sectional or Panel Data Analysis of Impact
      7. What Happens If the Outcome Isn’t Measurable Within the Product?
        1. Figure Out How to Measure the Outcome and Action, By Hook Or By Crook (But Not By Survey)
        2. Find Cases Where You Can Connect Product Behavior to Real-World Outcomes
        3. Build the Data Bridge
      8. On a Napkin
    2. 13. Identifying Obstacles to Behavior Change
      1. Watch Real People Using the Product
      2. Check Your Data
        1. Gather Additional Data About Your Users As Needed
        2. Use the Behavioral Plan to Find Bottlenecks
        3. Check Whether the Action Is Actually Working to Drive Outcomes
        4. Segment the User Population
        5. Advanced Technique: Creating a Causal Map
          1. Using the Causal Map to Determine Better Ways to Target the Application
          2. Using the Causal Map to Help Assess the Impact of the Application and Marginal Changes in the Application
          3. Using the Causal Map to Forecast the Impact of Future Changes
      3. Figure Out How to Fix the Obstacles
        1. Using the Create Action Funnel to Debug Problems
        2. Testing: Small, Light, and Incremental
      4. On a Napkin
    3. 14. Learning and Refining the Product
      1. Determine What Changes to Implement
        1. Gather
        2. Prioritize
        3. Integrate
      2. Measure the Impact of Each Major Change
        1. How to Run Incremental A/B Tests and Multivariate Tests
        2. How to Compare Incremental Pre-Post Results
        3. How to Find Incremental Effects in Statistical Models
        4. Running Qualitative Tests of Incremental Changes
        5. Deploying Multiarmed Bandit Techniques
      3. When Is It “Good Enough”?
      4. How to (Re-)Design for Behavior Change with an Existing Product
      5. On a Napkin
  9. VI. Putting It into Practice
    1. 15. Common Questions and a Start-to-Finish Example
      1. An Example of the Approach
        1. Understand
        2. Discover
        3. Design
        4. Refine
      2. Questions About How and Why We Act
        1. What Happens Before People Take Action the First Time?
        2. How Do the Preconditions for Action Vary From Day to Day?
        3. How Do the Dynamics of Using a Product Change as the User Gains Experience With It?
      3. Questions About the Mechanics of Building Behavior Change Products
        1. How Can a Company Get Help Testing Its Product, Especially from Outside Researchers?
        2. How Can You Sustain Engagement With Your Product?
        3. When You’re Seeking to Change Behavior, How Do You Avoid Going Too Far?
        4. How Does Designing for Behavior Change Affect My Business Model?
    2. 16. Conclusion
      1. Four Lessons
        1. Understand: How the Mind Makes Decisions
        2. Discover: How to Clarify Goals and Understand Your Users
        3. Design: How to Design for Action
          1. Action
          2. Environment
          3. User Preparation
        4. Refine: How to Iteratively Improve the Product
      2. Themes
      3. Looking Ahead
  10. A. Glossary of Terms
  11. B. Resources to Learn More
    1. Resources on Behavior and Decision Making
      1. Resources on Applying the Mind’s Shortcuts to Design
        1. BJ Fogg’s Persuasive Technology and Behavior Model
        2. Stephen Anderson’s Seductive Interaction Design
        3. Dan Lockton’s Design with Intent
        4. Susan Weinschenk’s Neuro-Web Design and 100 Things
        5. Jeff Johnson’s Designing with the Mind in Mind
        6. Blogs
      2. Design Trickery
      3. Books on Decision Making
        1. Explicit Behavior Change Approaches in Behavioral Economics
        2. General Behavioral Economics/Judgment and Decision-Making Books
        3. Research On Habit Formation
        4. How to Apply Behavior Change Concepts to One’s Own Life
        5. Blogs
      4. Behavior Change Approaches from Marketing and Sales
      5. Where to Get the Latest List of Resources
  12. C. Bibliography
    1. Bibliography
  13. D. About the Author
  14. Index
  15. About the Author
  16. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: Designing for Behavior Change
  • Author(s): Stephen Wendel
  • Release date: November 2013
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781449367626