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Applied Behavioural Science


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Ian Huckvale, Head of User Engagement, explains the benefits of behavioural sciences bring to user experience.
UX + behavioural science = better user experience.

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Applied Behavioural Science

  1. 1. Digital Psychology: Applied behavioural science A revolutionary approach to developing user experiences 10 July 2014
  2. 2. About me Ian Huckvale Head of user engagement Twitter: @ianhux I’m a UX specialist I now work with behavioural scientists Together we create great things
  3. 3. Successful waiters understand behavioural science: Although they may not realise that they do…
  4. 4. When behavioural science is brought together with established UX thinking, we can create better and more effective experiences UX + behavioural science = better UX
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. Traditional usability and UX design: Can the user see the button they need to press? Is the form easy to fill in? Can do
  7. 7. UX + behavioural science Will the user press the button? Can we make it more likely through an understanding of how their mind works? Will do
  8. 8. UX + behavioural science Will they do it more than once? Will they come back? Still do
  9. 9. Traditional usability and UXCan do Will do Still do Usability, UX and behavioural science working together
  10. 10. Applied behavioural science Some of the thinking is new Some of the thinking is a lot older….
  11. 11. Just a minute …. Aristotle? Aristotle’s ‘Ars Rhetorica’ is one of the earliest known texts about persuasion Rhetoric: noun 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
  12. 12. Aristotle's approach to persuasion: As seen in every charity campaign ever
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. GDS Behavioural insight: case study Can behavioural science be used to get significantly more people to become organ donors by understanding how their mind works? N.B. we’re just using this example – it’s not our project Ref: registrations-trialling-different-approaches
  15. 15. The “control”
  16. 16. Controlled tests
  17. 17. Controlled tests
  18. 18. Which worked best?
  19. 19. The winning version
  20. 20. So what’s the big fuss They made a difference of around 1% Over a year that would equate to 96,000 more people registering as organ donors
  21. 21. So far so good…
  22. 22. 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 through
  23. 23. Smokefree Social proof Public commitment Reciprocity
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. 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