Chapter 13. Identifying Obstacles to Behavior Change

You’ve built a solid product. You’ve established a baseline for the product’s impact. Now, you want to improve it. This chapter will help you discover problems, develop potential solutions, and generate additional ideas for how to make the product better.

I think of debugging a product’s behavioral impact as a five-step process:

  1. Watch how your users are actually using your product, and see what’s stopping them from changing their behavior.

  2. Check your data to find other problems in the product and to gauge the severity of the issues identified through observation.

  3. Devise potential solutions by understanding the psychology of why the problem occurs and what’s feasible in your product.

  4. Prioritize proposed changes to the product and integrate them into the product development process.

  5. Test the behavioral impact of high-priority changes.

This chapter walks you through the first three steps; the next chapter covers prioritization and testing the impact of changes.

Watch Real People Using the Product

To understand your product and how it’s impacting people’s lives, there’s no substitute for actually watching people use it. They will use it in ways you won’t expect. They’ll uncover assumptions the team had while designing and building the product. Some of them will also get frustrated, curse a bit, and stop using the product. Reams have been written about the importance of directly observing your users with your product to improve its usability. ...

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