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Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences by Jesmond Allen, James Chudley

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Chapter 31: Designing for Behavioral Change

The key to designing to influence behavior is a good understanding of actual user behavior. If you have this knowledge you are much more likely to be able to influence behavior to whatever outcome you are designing to achieve.

If you want to influence the behavior of people with the things you design first you must understand what they are trying to do. Once you understand their core tasks and why they need to complete them, you can better design something that addresses these tasks and answers their anxieties. Consider which stage they are in the customer/buying/usage lifecycle. Have you designed something that is robust enough to cater to them at every stage? Will your design meet the needs of users who are just looking as well as those that are ready to buy?

Persuasive design is often cited when considering how one can design to influence behavior and encourage a certain outcome. By understanding your users and what they are trying to achieve, you stand a chance of designing something that lets them do what they want to do. You are not persuading them to do anything. You are simply not giving them a reason to do what they are trying to do elsewhere. When considering designing for online, it is better to focus not on selling but helping people to buy. The online environment gives people plenty of alternatives to buy elsewhere and to be vocal about their experiences, both good and bad.

Using design patterns againts the users

The ...

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