Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics

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Book DescriptionPublication Date: November 25, 2013 | ISBN-10: 1449367623 | ISBN-13: 978-1449367626 | Edition: 1A new wave of products is helping people change their behavior and daily routines, whether it’...
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Book Description

Publication Date: November 25, 2013 | ISBN-10: 1449367623 | ISBN-13: 978-1449367626 | Edition: 1

A new wave of products is helping people change their behavior and daily routines, whether it’s exercising more (Jawbone Up), taking control of their finances (HelloWallet), or organizing their email (Mailbox). This practical guide shows you how to design these types of products for users seeking to take action and achieve specific goals.

Stephen Wendel, HelloWallet’s head researcher, takes you step-by-step through the process of applying behavioral economics and psychology to the practical problems of product design and development. Using a combination of lean and agile development methods, you’ll learn a simple iterative approach for identifying target users and behaviors, building the product, and gauging its effectiveness. Discover how to create easy-to-use products to help people make positive changes.

  • Learn the three main strategies to help people change behavior
  • Identify your target audience and the behaviors they seek to change
  • Extract user stories and identify obstacles to behavior change
  • Develop effective interface designs that are enjoyable to use
  • Measure your product’s impact and learn ways to improve it
  • Use practical examples from products like Nest, Fitbit, and Opower

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics

About the Author

Stephen is a behavioral social scientist who serves as the Principal Scientist at HelloWallet, an independent financial guidance company. He conducts original research on financial behavior and coordinates the research efforts of HelloWallet’s advisory board of leading behavioral economists and psychologists.

At HelloWallet, he’s helped build an engaging product that helps users take control over their finances. The impetus for this book comes from the challenges he and the rest of the HelloWallet team faced along the way, as they learned to apply the behavioral literature to consumer products and consulted with companies similarly searching for effective ways to enable behavior change.

Prior to joining HelloWallet, Dr. Wendel co-founded two IT companies, and conducted research on the dynamics of political behavior. He’s the co-founder of Action Design DC, a Meetup of over 800 practitioners and researchers applying behavioral science to their products, and serves as a mentor at 500 Startups and 1776 DC. He and his wife live in the DC area, with a small kid who loves to sing.


Product Details

Want to watch less TV? Put the batteries of your remote in the garage.

Want to lose some weight? Put the junk food on the top shelf in the basement.

When we tweak the environment to make bad habits difficult to engage in, our behavior changes.

This works with encouraging good habits, too.

Want people to do more recycling? Make the recycling bins extra large.

Want your employees to eat more healthily? Make the salad bar the first thing they see in the canteen.

“Designing for Behavior Change” looks at the various ways in which the design of (digital) products or services can change behavior DIRECTLY.

Which is exactly the opposite of what advertising has been doing for the last 100 years.

Whether we have yelled at people or tried a more creative approach, our industry has always assumed that attitudinal change precedes behavioral change.

For people to change their behavior, we first have to change their attitudes.

Wrong, says Stephen Wendel: Effective behavioral change is not the product of persuasion, but of strategic interface design.

What’s more, after adopting a new behavior thanks to a clever design change (= do more recycling because of bigger recycling bins), people will actually change their attitudes, too (= consider themselves environmentalists).

Want to be a truly effective communicator?

Let the actions influence the beliefs.

Let the attitudes revolve around the behavior.

Wendel’s book could mark the start of a Copernican Revolution in advertising.

Buy it, and you won’t miss it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for making wanted apps. January 28, 2014
Designing for behavior written by Steve Wendel, is an excellent book guiding developers and entrepreneurs, managers in making behavior changing apps or webapps that really work.

The fact that the book takes a, practical approach based on academic literature and persaonal experiences of the author makes it valuable. Many of the experiences comes from his dayjob, Working as a Pricipal Scientist at HelloWallet, nevertheless most of the examples in the book are taken form a daily live perspective.

The book gave me a clear insight and made me conscious about my and others brain and its decision process. And of course which steps should be taken to build an “habit” changing app. And more importantly how the app should tested, refined and reevaluated.

The book never leaves the main “brain decision flow”. The CREATE funnel

Cue: The user needs to think about something related to your product
Reaction: The mind reacts is the thought appealing enough to do something with it or does the user dislike the thought.
Evaluation. How much effort will the effort take and will I be rewarded
Ability. The person must actually be able to act some actions might not be possible driving a car for example, or doesn’t like to run in the rain when a fitness bracelet gives a notification
Time pressure. The user must have the time, or be pressurized enought to drop the current tasks or ocupation.
This flow returns throughout the book and makes it sure that you never forget that there is a long process/ action sequence necessary before the user, will download your app. And if the app is downloaded, the sames CREATE sequence is necessary for the user to use your app to change behavior every time.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into the humam decision making process February 11, 2014
The human decision making process is a complex mechanism. In Design for Behavior Change by Stephan Wendel we see how many of our assumptions about how individuals make day to day decisions may be flawed. The "decision change" in the context of this book is from the perspective on an individual who wants to make a change in behavior (e.g., financial nutritional, etc.) and has "opted in" to a system. The text give us an understanding of how to build systems that facilitate that behavior change based on behavioral science research.

If we understand the basic decision making process as Wendel lays out we can begin to structure our applications and systems base on this understanding. Wendel goes on to build a framework for understanding the phases of decision making and how to facilitate supportive strategies in application to aid the user.

Having a decision theory background a lot of the research presented was nothing new but what was helpful was the structure and strategies he layered on top of the research. Having a structures way to talk about the the phases of the decision process and strategies to the work with those phases is of great benefit when designing systems for behavior change. Even if you don't build systems of this type ave a look, it will reveal a lot about how and why you make your day to day decisions.


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