Part III. Developing the Conceptual Design

The task of designing a product around a specific behavior might seem daunting—there are hundreds of cognitive mechanisms at work, a wide diversity of personalities and needs among potential users, and countless small choices that need to be made about how the product itself looks and acts.

We can make that process manageable by breaking it down into small chunks. In Chapter 2, we talked about the mind’s five processes that are preconditions for action—a cue, an intuitive reaction, a deliberative evaluation, the ability to act, and the right timing. But how do these preconditions come together at the same time?

Each decision to act (or not) occurs within a particular context: made up of the user, the environment, and the potential action. The decision is shaped by users’ backgrounds—their prior history, personality, knowledge, and other traits. The decision is also shaped by the characteristics of their environmentwhat the product does, the person’s physical surroundings beyond the product, their friends and colleagues, and the external rewards (or punishments) they’ll receive if they take the action. Finally, the decision is shaped by the action itself—whether it is difficult for them to take, how it is structured, and what subtasks are required, if any.

That context (action, environment, and user) will either enable the user to pass all five stages of the Create Action Funnel, or it will block them. In order words, the Create Action Funnel ...

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