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How to Design Products for Behavior Change

This talk is about making products that help users take specific, targeted actions. I’ll show you how to apply the recent explosion of research in behavioral economics and psychology to the practical tasks of designing software products that help people change daily routines and behavior.

I’ll provide:
1) A quick overview of how the mind decides what to do next, and when it's on autopilot.
2) A step-by-step approach to designing and build products that help people change behavior.
3) Techniques for quickly assessing the behavioral bottlenecks in an application that block its effectiveness.

The goal of this approach is to help users do things they haven’t been able to do before, like exercising more (Nike+ FuelBand), taking control of their finances (HelloWallet), or being more energy efficient (OPower). It’s not about coercion or persuasion; it’s about having the maximum impact with our products on our user’s lives.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What five mental tests must a product pass, in a blink of an eye, for a person to use it?
  2. What behavioral techniques are available to encourage beneficial behavior change?
  3. What process can designers use to think about and develop products for behavior change?
  4. How can teams measure the product's impact on behavior and find obstacles to further impact?
  5. How does an interest in behavior change integrate into existing product development approaches (e.g.: Agile, Lean)?



Stephen Wendel, Principal Scientist, HelloWallet

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