1Cheat sheet - Building blocks of behavioral design


Me- "First make something people want, then
make people want something." 

  • Meaningful -create products which are important for your customer. Always begin with your customer's end goal (WIIFM?) and primary needs/wants/fears in mind. Address those first. If your service is meaningful, you may not need all kinds of persuasion tactics because customers simply want or need your product.
  • Purpose - customers often identify themselves with strong and valuable purposes, which connects them to a brand. Emphasize your brand values and make your purpose & CSR goals clear and tangible (Patagonia, Tesla).


Socialas a social species, our own behavior (and survival) is heavily influenced by others.

  • Social proof - when we are unsure how to act, we tend to follow the actions of others. People close to us (friends, family), authorities (like celebrities) or large crowds or people with similar experiences (reviews).
  • Human touch - we like interacting with humans, or when a company sounds and feels human (CoolBlue, Innocent, Mailchimp). Pseudo-humans can be very annoying (chatbots, Clippy).


Pleasure - we remember and share experienceswhich make us feel very good or bad. So, let's put a smile on people's faces.

  • Gifting - selflessly giving things away without asking anything in return, like a free sample or trial. It's very believable when you act against your own interest, purely in the interest of someone else.
  • Reciprocity - gifts create a social obligation to return a favor (and for example become a customer). A free sample can create loss aversion because you don't want to lose it (Spotify, crack dealers).
  • Random rewards - give out random rewards to keep the desired behavior going (a ratio of about 1 in 5). This is highly addictive! (computer games, cambling, Facebook).
  • Fun - small puns which put a smile on your face make you remember the experience and company well. It doesn’t have to be hilarious (CoolBlue, IKEA).
  • Peak-end rule - we judge past experiences on your last and your most extreme feeling: the highlight or low-point of an experience (IKEA's hotdogs & ice cream after paying).  

Mastery - discovering, learning and  mastering skills help us cope with the world. Achieve goals. Our brains hunger for knowledge.

  • Curiosity - Brains are pattern recognition devices. Uncomplete
    patterns and the urge to fill knowledge gaps are irresistible. We want to know! (Clickbait, computer games).
  • IKEA-effect: if you invest effort in something, you perceive it as more valuable (NIKEid).
  • Completeness - our brains need goals, and achieving them feels good (because dopamine is released). We want to set goals and tick off boxes, complete lists, reach targets (LinkedIn profile bar, emptying mailbox).


Framing - a frame of mind (or mindset) where actions, thoughts, emotions, decisions etc are more likely to occur when they fit into the mental frame you are in. Things that don't agree with the frame are easier to dismiss. This is system 1 at work.

A frame of mind can be created by designers, communicators, politicians, media etc, consciously or unconsciously  in order to get their audience to comply.

  • Priming - messages, words, images, smells, sounds etc activate a network of unconscious associations. This puts us in a state of mind (a frame) where behavior associated with those associations is more likely to occur.
  • Anchoring - we use anchors to create reference points. Anchors are the boundaries within we make estimations. Most tiered pricing models use anchoring. A very high price (or very low) is the "anchor" to make medium prices seem more attractive.
  • Loss aversion - we hate losing more than we like winning. We avoid risky situations (Booking).
    • Scarcity - things seem more valuable when there are little left.
    • FOMO - the fear of missing out on opportunities.
    • Risk reduction - we avoid risks. Design for removing any fears and doubts your customers have.

Trust - Trust is the basis of sustainable relations. Customers only hand over their money, data etc to companies they can trust.

  • Expectation management - the way expectations are met has a great impact on satisfaction. Exceeding expectations creates delight, not meeting expectations creates disappointment.
  • Ethics and integrity - don’t shovel shiny shit. Always go for the best interest of the customer.
IgnitedMinds - cheatsheet


Easy - the harder things seem, the more likely your customers are to quit.
"Don't make me think."

  • Simple - create flows & interfaces which require as little effort and cognitive load as possible. This way, customers can direct all their attention, effort and precious mental energy towards your message.
  • Patterns - our brains recognize and complete patterns. Apply the laws of Gestalt to make interfaces easier to scan.
  • Beautiful - what is beautiful is perceived as more usable, and of higher quality. A beautiful appearance induces the feeling of quality, which is transferred to the product or brand. (Tesla, Bunq).
  • No fears - obstacles can be mental as well. Address and remove any fears and doubts your customers may experience. Give them no excuse to leave.



Without a trigger, behavior is not likely to occur. A trigger can be internally (like a thought, an idea, a wish) or externally. External online triggers can be:

  • Push message, notification
  • CTA
  • Content: text, images which grab your attention
  • Banners


Want to make your product meaningful, frictionless & fun? Become a behavioral design expert yourself.

Do you also want to make more positive impact with a better team?
Get in touch: info@mindpact.net 







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