Designing for Behavior Change

Warren Church

“Behavior change can be about seeing people as the problem - or solving people’s problems.”

- Carl DiSalvo

In the rush to leverage behavioral science theories to affect human behaviors, often the ‘human’ part of it gets left out. ‘Behavioral design’ is a hot topic in UX and design circles - and companies looking to influence the behavior of their customers or employees.

Unfortunately this often leads to simplistic approaches - “here’s how to do X” - with default settings, closed choices, synthesized social proof, or loss aversion employed to steer human behavior - rather than letting us drive. This creates unnecessary behavioral frictions and may not lead to sustainable behavior change.

Happily Dan Lockton’s forthcoming book (Amazon UK August 2016), Design with Intent, introduces a deeper multidisciplinary approach to ‘behavioral design’ centered on working with people to understand the issues around getting us to do X or Y. Good stuff, and a wonderful addition to his Toolkit. In the meantime checkout his short lecture at one of Rory Sutherland’s excellent Nudgestock events.