Social proof – seating happy couples in the window where everyone can see them Persuasion through expertise – when recommending the more expensive option Reciprocity – the gift just before the bill
Applied Behavioural Science
Digital Psychology: Applied behavioural science
A revolutionary approach to developing user experiences
10 July 2014
Head of user engagement
I’m a UX specialist
I now work with behavioural
Together we create great things
Successful waiters understand behavioural science:
Although they may not realise that they do…
When behavioural science
is brought together with
established UX thinking,
we can create better and
more effective experiences
UX + behavioural science = better UX
Why add behavioural science to UX?
Behavioural science adds new dimensions to designing UX
There is a growing body of research and insight to draw on – both
old and new thinking – what’s new is the application within digital
Scientific approach based on experimentation and testing can prove
that you are adding value
Traditional usability and UX design:
Can the user see the button they need to press?
Is the form easy to fill in?
UX + behavioural science
Will the user press the button?
Can we make it more likely through an
understanding of how their mind works?
UX + behavioural science
Will they do it more than once?
Will they come back?
Traditional usability and UXCan do
Usability, UX and behavioural science
Applied behavioural science
Some of the thinking is new
Some of the thinking is a lot older….
Just a minute …. Aristotle?
Aristotle’s ‘Ars Rhetorica’ is one of the
earliest known texts about persuasion
the art of effective or persuasive speaking or
writing, especially the exploitation of figures of
speech and other compositional techniques.
Ethos, Pathos, Logos
First establish credibility and authority:
then use emotional appeals and logical
reasoning (or both) to win the argument
Aristotle's approach to persuasion:
As seen in every charity campaign ever
So what’s new?
Charities took offline thinking and put it online – their campaign and
fundraising specialists know what works
Something different is happening now – something pretty exciting:
• Tech and digital companies have never before had behavioural scientists on
their full-time headcount
• A/B testing is morphing into robust controlled experimentation
• The leading specialists are publishing white papers and exposing their
thinking to peer review
And when behavioural scientists get involved in the UX
development process we can create something really special
GDS Behavioural insight: case study
Can behavioural science be used to get
significantly more people to become organ
donors by understanding how their mind
N.B. we’re just using this example – it’s not our project
3 takeaway principles to try out
Reciprocity: if you give someone something, they feel in debt to
you and will consciously or subconsciously try to pay off that debt
Social proof: if people are aware that their friends and peers are
doing something they are more likely to do it themselves
Public commitment: if people make a public statement that they
are going to do something, it is more likely that they will follow
How to approach your first experiment
Are any of these approaches guaranteed to work for me?
No. There is no silver bullet
What about traditional persuasion methods: cost, value etc?
You still need to consider those as well – it’s not an either or debate
Think like a scientist:
It’s about experimentation to see what works
Hypothesise, test, observe, refine, repeat
Design the study or it’s difficult to say whether you proved anything
UX + behavioural science = better user experience
A new approach to UX design – with huge potential to improve effectiveness of digital
A new approach that is happening already – probably more often than you think
A new approach you could be experimenting with now …. start thinking like a scientist