Here is our cheatsheet for designing behavior. You're welcome!
PLEASE : only use this knowledge for good. To create value for our planet and society. Need help? Drop us a line.
0: Think win-win-win
Before designing behavior, start with:
- What is my end goal?
- Who is my target audience?
- What behavior and experience do I want from them? What do I want people to do and feel?
- How might we create a win-win-win situation for me, my audience and society/planet?
1: Draw attention with triggers
"Without a trigger, behavior is not likely to occur"
You want to change people’s behavior? Start with getting their attention. Nothing happens if you get ignored.
But... Our attention span is shorter than a goldfish (8 vs 9 seconds). And our brains filter out noise and boring stuff - especially ads and messages.
Use triggers to draw attention. Triggers can be:
- Call to action, button
- Sight sounds smell (watch out with smell)
- Breaking patterns
- Spark curiosity: "17 facts you won't believe are true"
- Notifications like e-mail, buttons, messages
2: Appeal to intrinsic motivation
"Make people an offer they can't refuse"
Be meaningful - create products that matter to your customer. Always start with your customer's end goal (What's in it for me?) 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.
Relate to purpose - customers often identify themselves with strong and valuable purposes, which connects them to a brand. Emphasize your brand values and make your purpose & SGD goals clear and tangible (Patagonia, Tesla).
Make it personal - appeal to people's identity. Their hobbies. What they do for fun. Address them by their name (like Hi George!).
3: Remove or reduce friction
"Don't make me think"
Our brains are lazy. They avoid unnecessary effort because they already consume disproportionate amounts of energy. The brain size is 2% of the body. Its energy use is 20%.
So: Make it easy, keep it simple. The harder things seem, the more likely your customers are to quit.
- Simplicity vs complexity- create processes & interfaces which require as little mental effort as possible. This way, customers can direct all their attention, effort and precious mental energy towards your message: iPhone vs Blackberry. Netflix autoplay. Dark design: Facebook unsubscribe process.
- Clarity vs doubt - obstacles can be mental as well. Understand and address fears and doubts ("...but what if?") your customers may experience. Manage expectations well.
- Energy and effort - things like long forms, paywalls, . all require energy and effort. Uber afterpay vs Taxi
- Beauty vs chaos - our brains deem beautiful things as more usable and useful than ugly things.
4: Seduce, reward or threat
"The brain is moved by pain and gain"
There are many ways we can seduce reward or use scare tactics:
Social - as 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 experiences which 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 credible 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 (crack dealers, Spotify).
- 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, gambling, Facebook).
- Fun - little 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. Unc.mplete
patterns and the urge to fill knowledge gaps are irresistible. We want to know! (Clickbait, computer games).
- Ownership-effect: if you invest effort in something, you perceive it as more valuable (Ikea, 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 (Booking.com: only 2 rooms left)
- FOMO - the fear of missing out on opportunities.
- Risk reduction - we avoid risks.
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.
5. Provide happy ends & next steps
Happy end - People remember how you made them feel. Especially the last part of a customer journey is remembered well. Better end on a positive note (Ikea ice cream, Tikkie thank you GIF)
- First close the loop: make sure the brain understands a process is finished so it has headspace for new steps.
- Call to action: clear directions for the next step. Use triggers and the rules of simplicity to guide people to the next part in the customer journey. Speaking of which: Get in touch with us for a free coffee (and consult): email@example.com.
Want to make your product meaningful, frictionless & fun? Become a behavioral design expert yourself. Get in touch and drop a line! The first flat white oat coffee is on us...