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Designing for Behavior Change by Stephen Wendel

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Chapter 3. Strategies for Behavior Change

A Decision or a Reaction: Three Strategies to Change Behavior

How can a product help its users pass all the way through the Action Funnel and actually take action? There are three big strategies that a company can choose from, to change behavior and help users take action. Two of them come straight from the research literature and from the difference between deliberative and intuitive actions. The third is less obvious, but immensely powerful—it’s called cheating.

The conscious, deliberative route is the one that most of us are familiar with already—it entails encouraging people to take action, and them consciously deciding to do it. Users have to pass through all five stages of the Action Funnel, and often spend considerable time on the conscious evaluation stage.

The intuitive route is a bit more complex. Recall from Chapter 1 that our lightning-fast, automatic, and intuitive reactions arise from a mix of various elements: associations we’ve learned between things, specific habits we’ve built up, our current mindset, and a myriad of built-in shortcuts (heuristics) that save our minds work but can lead us astray. Of these, habits are the most promising route to developing a sustainable path to behavior change because there are clear, systematic ways to form them.[49] And once they are formed, they allow the user to pass effortlessly through two of the stages of the Action Funnel—the conscious evaluation and the assessment of the right timing ...

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