ACTION DESIGN:Designing products that help people take actionSteve WendelPrincipal Scientist, HelloWallet@sawendelNoVA UX Meetup, 13 March 13
ACTION DESIGN• Traditional product design is about building good products• Action Design is about building good products that are effective at changing behavior. So people can do things they want to do, but havent been able to do before.• Without: • Coercion • Persuasion • Trickery
NEW RESEARCH, NEW OPPORTUNITIES1. Decades of research in persuasion & trickery2. A recent growth in more beneficial uses3. Action Design makes this literature real & useful for UX and product people: • Pulling in the latest behavioral research • Measuring causal impact • Integrating UX and product expertise
TOPICS How it works: tools, process, and preparation Designing a user progression Designing the app itself Implementing the designs & more
HOW IT WORKS: TOOLS1. Learning how the mind decides to act2. Thinking strategically about behavior change3. Evaluating alternative actions4. Designing around an action5. Measuring impact
HOW IT WORKS: PROCESSNote: hey, this is whathappens when a researcherdoes graphic design…. We’lltalk about why designersneed to be free to dobeautiful things later.
WHAT’S A USER PROGRESSION?Our goal:Develop a detailed “story” of how the user progressesfrom being a neophyte to accomplishing the action.We’ll do that with three tools:1. Learning how the mind decides to act2. Thinking strategically about behavior change3. Designing around an actionThe “story” can be narrative, visual, verbal, whatever.
TOOL: HOW THE MIND DECIDES TO ACT1. We have two independent systems for decision making = Dual Process Theory = The Rider & The Elephant2. Most of the time, we’re not Image from http://kazez.blogspot.com/ actually “choosing” what to do. Metaphor from J. Haidt (2006) & the Buddha3. We’re using habits.4. Or, we’re using hundreds of cognitive shortcuts.
TOOL: HOW THE MIND DECIDES TO ACT5. Shortcut: We don’t read webpages.6. Shortcut: We do stuff that’s easy and familiar.7. Shortcut: We judge based on rough, prior associations.8. Shortcut: Beautiful = Easy to Read = True Easy to Remember = Likeable = True
TOOL: THINK STRATEGICALLYThree core behavior change strategies:1. Cheat.2. Build habits.3. Help users make the choice, consciously. LarkLife exercise & sleep band
CHEAT IF YOU CANRemove the need for the user to work.Option 1: Set a default optionExample: “Easy Mode” on fancy camerasOption 2: Make it a side effectExample: Add iron to flourOption 3: Automate it, behind the scenesExample: 401(k) automatic deductions, bill paymentQuestion: How can we cheat with the exercise app?
BUILD HABITSHabits save the conscious mind from doing work.1. Gamification is one option.2. To do it, identify: 1. A clear trigger (time of day, or event in life), 2. A routine Duhigg (2012) (something to do unconsciously), The Power of Habit 3. A reward (especially random ones).Question: What natural habit loops exists for exercise?
THE CONSCIOUS CHOICE TO ACT1. Deciding to act takes work – esp. attention and self-control2. You won’t keep attention for long3. Self-control varies across the day4. Align with the intuitive mind as much as possible. There’s no such thing as a “conscious mode” of thinking.
TOOL: DESIGNING AROUND AN ACTIONWrite out the story of new users progressing over timeFour tasks can help:1. Gather Knowledge2. Structure the Action3. Construct the Environment4. Prepare the User
GATHER KNOWLEDGE:GET TO KNOW YOUR USERS• What major groups are there? • By experience with the actions? Already exercise vs. don’t. • By expertise with your medium? Have a smart phone vs. don’t. • By how they see you? Trust you vs. don’t.• Why haven’t they taken this action in the past?• What’s easy for them? What’s familiar?
STRUCTURE THE ACTION ITSELF1. Break the action up into small, manageable steps2. Build up the users’ confidence From money.cnn.com3. Give clear feedback4. Make it clear what to do physically, specifically5. Look for ways to cheat, and look for habit loops.Question: What sequence of actions will help users exercise?
CONSTRUCT THE ENVIRONMENT1. Motivate – why should they act?2. Trigger – actually ASK them to act.3. Identify and neutralize competing motivations & triggers4. This is very similar to Fogg’s Behavior Model, but with a bit more guidance on the design part.Question: What’s in the users’ environment, for each step?Write out the story: why act, why now, and why not do something else?
PREPARE THE INDIVIDUAL FOR ACTION1. Educate? Only if necessary. Usually wasted.2. Hook into prior positive associations & experiences3. Develop a self-narrative that the user will succeedQuestion: How do you prepare the user to act, for eachstep of the progression?
YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW• Extract the agile user stories or specifications you need from the user progression• Work up some rough wireframes• Remember: • A behavioral plan is not a product. It’s a design consideration. • UX experts must be free to innovate & find creative, beautiful ways to accomplish the plan.
YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW, PART 2• Got Wireframes? Cool.• Use the same tools, again. This is the little-B behavioral work.• Think strategically: • Where can you cheat? • Where are there habit loops?• Design around the action: • Structure the action itself? • Construct the environment? • Prepare the user to act?
YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW, PART 3• In the details (wording, layout, etc.), remember how the mind makes decisions – shortcuts. • Loss aversion • Implementation intentions • Temporal Myopia • Inertia • Peer effects • … and many more…• See John Whalen’s Presentation, Anderson’s Seductive Interaction Design, Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think, Weinshenk’s 100 Things
IMPLEMENTATION• Same Tool: Behavior Change Strategies• Same Tool: Design Around the Action• New Tool: Evaluate Behavioral Cost- Effectiveness
MEASUREMENT & ITERATION• New Tool: Impact Assessment• New Tool: Evaluate Behavioral Cost- Effectiveness• Same Tool: Behavior Change Strategies
PICKING THE RIGHT BATTLE• New Tool: Evaluate Behavioral Cost- Effectiveness• New Tool: (Plan for) Impact Assessment
AND THAT’S IT FOR NOW.• Comments! Feedback! • What more do you need to know? • Examples in your own work?• Check out actiondesign.hellowallet.com for more on this step-by-step method for designing for behavior change.• Check out www.meetup.com/action-design-dc A Meetup on product-mediated, beneficial behavior change, where anyone in the community can swap notes. The next meetup, March 19th 6:30pm, is a deep dive into BJ Fogg’s Persuasive Design and Behavioral Model• Contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sawendel