Chapter 5. Selecting the Right Target Action

Each of us has different routines, different experiences, and different ways that we respond to the world. To design for behavior change, you need to discover the right action for your users based on this complex terrain of routines, experiences, and responses. The action must be effective at helping them achieve their goals. And, at the same time, you must balance user needs against the needs of the company building the product—to generate revenue and to cost-effectively deploy design and engineering resources.

In Chapter 4, we clarified what the company sought to accomplish with the product (the target outcome, like people losing weight) and generated a list of potential actions that users could take in order to make that happen (like using smaller plates, exercising more, or going on a diet). That initial list of target actions was initially developed in a vacuum, without a lot of discussion about the users themselves—to avoid stereotyped actions that we think people are “likely” to take.

Now it’s time to confront that list of potential actions with real users. We’ll refine the list and then evaluate it according to company and user needs. Along the way, we’ll also gather vital information we need about the target users for designing the product itself.

Research Your Target Users

In order to help users change their behavior, the team must understand where the users are starting from and what behaviors are realistic and worthwhile to change. ...

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