Designing for Behavior Change
Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2013
Pages: 394

A new wave of products is helping people change their behavior and daily routines, whether it’s exercising more (Jawbone Up), taking control of their finances (HelloWallet), or organizing their email (Mailbox). This practical guide shows you how to design these types of products for users seeking to take action and achieve specific goals.

Stephen Wendel, HelloWallet’s head researcher, takes you step-by-step through the process of applying behavioral economics and psychology to the practical problems of product design and development. Using a combination of lean and agile development methods, you’ll learn a simple iterative approach for identifying target users and behaviors, building the product, and gauging its effectiveness. Discover how to create easy-to-use products to help people make positive changes.

  • Learn the three main strategies to help people change behavior
  • Identify your target audience and the behaviors they seek to change
  • Extract user stories and identify obstacles to behavior change
  • Develop effective interface designs that are enjoyable to use
  • Measure your product’s impact and learn ways to improve it
  • Use practical examples from products like Nest, Fitbit, and Opower
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oreillyDesigning for Behavior Change
 
4.4

(based on 9 reviews)

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89%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (8)
  • Helpful examples (6)
  • Well-written (5)
  • Concise (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (7)
    • Expert (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Designer (5), Developer (5), Maker (4)

    Reviewed by 9 customers

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    4.0

    Great topic - great read!

    By Piers Hollott

    from Victoria, BC

    About Me Designer, Maker

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

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    • Helpful examples

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      • Expert
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

      I found this book insightful, and in places even inspirational. If you come from a User Experience background, this book will help you add a few tools to your toolbelt, and will help you build a business case for why behahioral change and how psychology is important to usage and design. There are lots of useful examples that tie the book back to real world applications.

      If you are not coming from a User Experience background, you may find this book hard to follow in places, because it is probably a shift in focus from the way you approach consumer and industrial design, but you will still find this book useful if you are excited by the process of taking conceptual design and making it a reality.

       
      4.0

      Insightful for the beginner

      By TShear

      from Novi, MI

      About Me Designer, Developer, Maker

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

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        • Intermediate

        Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

        I found the exploration of behavior models very enlightening for me. As a developer of healthcare software, eliciting behavior change is what it's all about.

         
        3.0

        Comprehensive albeit dry

        By Stan Designs

        from New York

        About Me Designer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Helpful examples

        Cons

        • Difficult to understand

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        • Intermediate

        Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

        This gave me more insight into how the whole product cycle works from start to finish in designing for behavior change.

        The book feels like it's 100 pages too long.

        Some of the tangents are too abstract.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Fabulous book on this subject

        By DC Crowley

        from Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

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        • Well-written

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          Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

          Designing for Behavior Change is all about analysing requirements, designing, testing so as to build effective user interfaces. Steve Wendel shows us behavior analysis techniques and design strategies to create win-win interfaces for both business and client/ customers. The quality of information in this book is really very good.

          This is a book I feel is useful for two types of readers. The first is an UX/ UI app designer, they have a budget and they do user testing. For many a UX/ UI web designer there is little user testing. We have to use wisdom and experience to reach good design decisions. This book will help you make even better decisions.

          Using an iterative approach to "understand, discover, design, refine". This book will help you understand. You should already be a designer if you are reading this. Discovery and refinement are already part of our creative process. The book starts out with a section about behavioural psychology. The second section of the book is about discovery. The first chapter of this section "Figuring Out What You Want to Accomplish" points the way forward. Start with a vision, what result do you think you need? Make priorities as to how to accomplish this. Move on and work out who your target users are and create personas. Once you understand what needs to happen and what type of user you are dealing with you can start the conceptual design phase. Each phase is explained clearly, what you need to know, what you need to do. Next up, the interface design, testing... then refinement. All sections are dotted with tales of woe, things to avoid and pointers to where the insights may happen.

          No dark arts but honest win-win goals are championed. Steve Wendel has been with Hello Wallet for many years in various roles and in now chief scientist. Happy Wallet won a webby award last year (2013). In this book Steve Wendel shares where they got it wrong and where they got it right. Hello Wallet is a webapp positioned for employers as a workplace financial wellness benefit to employees. Hello Wallet is also available for individuals and helps tame out of control finances.

          You can see that there are research budgets. For UX/ UI app designers that is a (non) luxury that UX/ UI web designers have to do without many a time. If you are a web UX/ UI designer this book will help you build your knowledge base. I really feel the insights and tone of this book will help nearly every reader professionally. There are not very many books on these subjects, but this is a very good book and I highly recommend it.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Create change with an app

          By vdebolt

          from New Mexico

          About Me Educator

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          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples

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            • Expert
            • Intermediate

            Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

            The book is aimed at app developers who want to make a product that will be used regularly and will cause people to change their daily habits and routines.

            It's full of ideas, examples, studies, and information to help you plan, design, test, and deploy an app that will help people make a change. The change might be to exercise more often, save money, or something else. Many examples in the book are from HelloWallet, where author Stephen Wendel works, but there are plenty of examples from other places as well.

            The book takes you through the complete process of figuring out the goal for your app, clearly stating the behavior you want to achieve, and the process of creating, designing and testing to make sure you accomplish the goal. There is science to back up the author's suggestions. There are examples to help you understand what kind of behavior change you can expect people to make using an app, and how to get them to use it long enough to make the desired changes by keeping the interface simple. It talks about designing, coding, about measuring impact, and about refining a product as you go along.

            Footnotes and appendices are many if you want to get into the various studies and examples cited in the book, but there's plenty of information here to get you going with just this source.

            Each chapter is almost a text in itself, because the author repeats many of the core princples of what you need to keep in mind in every chapter. It's repetitious, but it also reinforces the key points at every step along the way.

            Summary: An excellent guide to designing apps to create behavior changes.

            (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Concise channel into the mind

            By Doron

            from Sydney, Australia

            About Me Developer

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              Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

              A strong theoretic book that explores the conscious and sub-conscious minds of behaviour, in order to set the mindset for designing for human behaviour. A pillar of UX development, Stephen Wendel presents the psychology of why people do things in a certain way, and strategies for encouraging behavioural change, re-forming habits and so forth.

              (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              A fascinating read

              By An Fear Ard

              from Dublin, Ireland

              About Me Designer, Developer, Maker

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

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              • Easy to understand
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                Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

                First and foremost - as this is an early release there were numerous formatting issues and some spelling mistakes but this was to be expected, "Early Release - Raw and Unedited" emblazoned on the front of the book does somewhat suggest potential issues. As such, I'll stick solely to the content.

                Stephen Wendel guides us adeptly through the inner workings of our lazy minds and shows us how to maximise our chances of effective designs for behaviour change by paving the way to good design with excellent theory, references and his own experiences to draw upon.

                In the preface, the author clearly defines the scope of this book and, most importantly, the audience for whom the book has been written and the types of changes that the book can help you to achieve in your designs. If you're planning world domination by brainwashing people through your apps then this book is not for you (indeed bad news for you in general as the author reveals that it is in fact quite difficult to coerce people to do something that they don't want to). If, however, you genuinely want to help people to develop better habits then read on.

                In order to effect change, the person looking to design for change needs to understand how the mind makes decisions and why it makes the decisions that it does make and not others. Once this has been discussed (with some fascinating data / anecdotes from studies), the author then introduces strategies for actually changing behaviour.

                Armed with this knowledge, you are then taught how to take the theory already learned and apply to the people that you want to reach, in a logical progression that begins with figuring out what exactly you want to do, how to do it and then continues on to how to actually implement it, solicit feedback and continually refine your product.

                Even if you never hope to develop a product for behaviour change, this book is a fascinating read that illustrates how we as a species tend to think and how people try to use that information (for both good and bad) to influence our decisions. If you are hoping to develop a product for behaviour change then get this book without delay.

                I'm quite delighted, apart from the sterling content of the book, at the use of humour too. Little things like the summary of each chapter being referred to as "On a Napkin" make it all a more pleasant read. I was also delighted to see references to Brian Wansink, another excellent author on behaviour (and a funny guy too)

                If you're looking to help people with behaviour (not addictions) or are just interested in the topic then get this book, you won't regret it.

                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                What a great resource!

                By User Experience Manager

                from St. Louis, MO

                About Me Developer

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Concise
                • Easy to understand
                • Well-written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

                    I heard Steve talk at an O'Reilly webinar and got so much out of it. I bought the book and was not disappointed. He has so much great material and lays it out so well. Everything is backed up with resources and references. I especially like his summaries at the end of each chapter "On a Napkin" and his callouts "Lessons for Designers" where really well placed.

                    (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Required reading for product designers

                    By Justin Thorp

                    from Las Vegas, NV

                    About Me Developer, Maker

                    Pros

                    • Easy to understand
                    • Helpful examples
                    • Well-written

                    Cons

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                      • Intermediate
                      • Novice

                      Comments about oreilly Designing for Behavior Change:

                      So many products start with good intentions but die because the designer/developer lack a certain level of empathy or understanding of the person they're serving and the problem they have. The product fails to change the users behavior and thus the product fizzles out.

                      For decades, academics, researchers, and scientists have been doing amazing research about behavioral science and psychology that's addressed these very issues. Unfortunately, it's all very stuffy and hard to digest.

                      In this book, Steve has distilled decades worth of research into an action plan for designers, developers, and product people to really understand how the brain works and how that can be used to your advantage to change someone's behavior and create habits around your product or company... and make it successful.

                      A long side the theory, Steve loads this book with tons of great examples of both successful and failed products for us to learn from.

                      This book should be required reading at every startup accelerator across the world.

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