Any type of design affects behavior...
The trick is to design for change instead of design features that look good or feel right. Classic design usually design features and forgets what behaviors are those features meant to ensue in our users.
The first step to behavior design is to recognize the behaviors that drive our product. Those that are required for the product to show its value and that are central to the experience of using it. If a user doesn't do this, they will not get anything out of the product. Some examples of target behaviors could be opening the app and reading or something more complex like taking a pill.
But that’s not the end of the story, there are usually behaviors that precede the behavior we need the user to do, (our target behavior). These are things like downloading the app, registering, or walking through the door. These are required to set the stage for the actual target behavior to happen, and are as important as the objectives. Why? Because if these things don’t happen neither can our target behavior.
Identifying and designing the chain of preceding behaviors is key for a successful product.
In each of those behaviors we discussed earlier there are two forces that are in conflict. The first one is user motivation: users need to want to do something in order for that to happen. This is true even for things like paying your taxes… you might not want to do it, but there are other factors that motivate you to do it.
The second force is friction, how costly the user thinks the action is. Sometimes the friction is unsurpassable, like when you just don’t have the means to do something, other times it hinders the motivation just enough to consider not taking action.
But most importantly, users need to...
Realize there is a behavior to do
One of the most common mistakes when designing a product is forgetting to trigger the behavior, or creating triggers that are not timely or understandable. Triggers are key to the process because no matter how favourable the motivation vs friction struggle is there is no action if the user hasn’t even considered the possibility of doing something.
One of the usual objectives is to create habits, to create habits you really need to understand the trigger that you want to create or embed the habit to. The easiest way is to do it is to recognize a trigger that the user usually encounters and add new meaning to that. When I’m looking to move fast across the city, I used to look for a taxi, but now instead I use an app.
Your Product or Research
These techniques can be applied to boost adoption and retention in all kinds of industries, including healthcare, consumer and scientific research. Either if you know the science or you have designed products in the past the applied experience and new methods of design we bring to the table will take your product to the next level.
Harnessing and fighting biases
Cognitive biases are like optical illusions for your brain. These are situations where your brain gets tricked into choosing or doing something when considered rationally you would do the opposite. A large collection of biases has been described, we find ways to apply them into product design catalogued in the Behavioral cards