Behavioural Design – What, Why and How "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs 6 April 2016 True Behaviour, Cognitive Bias, Cognitive Load, Habit, Nudge, Product Psychology, User Behaviour, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 397 Kat Matfield - Behaviour Design - ProductTank Product Management 1.588
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Behavioural Design – What, Why and How

Behaviour design is, in a nutshell, a set of techniques and patterns you can use to change the way people behave and make decisions, or “design that draws on behavioural psychology”.

In this ProductTank talk, Kat Matfield points out that we’re all almost certainly already using elements of behavioural design, but accidentally and without necessarily knowing how the techniques work. If we practice behavioural design more deliberately and thoughtfully, then we’ll see vastly more valuable results – and to that end, Kat introduces a lightweight Behavioural Design Toolkit, and a set of resources available on her website:

The Essential Behavioural Design Toolkit

For those of you who attended Mind The Product in 2014 and saw Nir Eyal speak about building habit-forming products, Kat’s brief intro to Habits will be an excellent refresher.

Next, she dives into the idea of Cognitive Load, explaining how to understand it, and providing some great illustrations of how to know when you’re reducing the cognitive load (i.e. friction) your users encounter in your product. As part of the tool kit, there’s even a quick introduction to a “Holistic Cognitive Load Mapping” process (even Kat admitted that the name wasn’t too snappy).

Finally, Kat introduces the murky world of cognitive biases, and the huge potential they have to shape human behaviour (potentially to the benefit or detriment of your customers – tread carefully!) Lest this all become too academic, the talk finishes with some great real-world examples of cognitive biases, and the whole spread of behavioural design techniques, being brought together and used in coherent product experiences (specifically, an app for encouraging users to go the gym, and a way for banking customers to check their account balances).

The Challenge

Kat Matfield gives us a fantastic walkthrough of the essentials of behavioural design, and how to apply it to real-world products. She breaks down three fundamental techniques and concepts we can use immediately (and are probably already using without realising) to start nudging our users to behave in slightly different ways. The challenge for us is to decide exactly how we’d like our users to behave, and to start running small experiments to work out exactly which nudges will put them on the right path. As a first step, it’s probably worth asking yourself the question – how many of these techniques are you already using in your products?

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