A lean guide to designing for behaviour change – Part 3


In Part 2 of A lean guide to designing for behaviour change, we looked at behavioural strategies such as automation and changing habits. We saw how using intrinsic motivation is a good thing and how to support the user in their choices by creating an appropriate environment.

Step 6: Put everything into practice

designing for behaviour change
By Kelly Sikkema

Job stories can come straight from the behavioural plan. Each step in the sequence of actions can come from these stories. 


Use this template for a job story:

When ___ , I want to ___ , so I can ___ .

The ‘when’ focuses on the situation, the ‘I want’ focuses on the motivation, and the ‘so I can’ focuses on the outcome.

“When I’m managing a large team, I want to prepare the team sales report, so I can be ready for the board presentation.”

In this example, we know that the manager is under pressure and he is busy. He wants to be prepared for those big board meetings. What we can do is to automate report making. We can remind him, generate those reports automatically, and send them in a suitable format that he can use straight away.

Psychological strategies to use for each stage


  • Tell the user what the action is
  • Make it clear
  • Remove distractions




  • Smart default as much as possible
  • Use AI
  • Use positive peer comparison for easy action
  • Use progressive disclosure


  • Frame text to be relevant in that moment

Step 7: Test and evaluate 

designing for behaviour change
By Jakari Ward

After putting in all this hard work, now is time to test that it is working. There are three measures we can use.

1. Create an impact Assessment

It’s important to outline our objectives and what success or failure looks like. We want to measure how the product behaves based on clear objectives we’ve set. Does it meet these objectives and assumptions we’ve created?

2. Pinpoint and analyse obstacles

What is stopping the user reaching their goal? We can find this out through user testing, to watch our product in the real world gain a better insight into how people use the product, and what crisis moments occur and what impact it has.

3. Learning from our mistakes and refining 

When we have gathered our testing data, we need to review and create an action plans of improvements. We can put this through our development backlog as UX priorities based on business considerations and behavioural impact.

Design responsibly

We can forget in the fog of development that we are trying to make our user’s daily grind a little easier, but we are also responsible for how we treat our users. Balancing the concerns of financial gain and the user is the most challenging part of building products. Using cognitive biases and behavioural tricks of the trade can lead us down some dark paths if we let it. Keep the user’s true needs and wants in mind when designing for behaviour change and let’s always design responsibly.


  1. B.J. Fogg, Fogg Behavior Model
  2. Stephen Wendel, Designing for Behaviour Change
  3. Nikki Pfarr and Judith Gregory, Cognitive Biases and Design Research: Using insights from behavioral economics and cognitive psychology to re-evaluate design research methods
  4. Dan Lockton, Design, behaviour change and the Design with Intent toolkit: Theories and Practices of Designing for Change
  5. Jeffrey Nevid, Psychology: Concepts and applications
  6. Amy Wrzesniewski and Barry Schwartz, The Secret of Effective Motivation
  7. Nir Eyal, The Manipulation Matrix
  8. David Hall, Our hero: Storymapping the user experience

Cover photo by me.


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