Designing for Behavior Change

Designing prototypes based on benevolent behavior change theories.

1. CHALLENGE

Understand academic behavior change theories and implement them into practical persuasive design solutions with a huge focus on the ethics of doing so.

2. OUTCOME

4 design cards based on theory constructs and 4 user journeys with technologically mediated behavior change. Three Applications redesigned.

3. IMPACT

A toolkit that enables me to leverage academic theories to create

actionable designs.

4. PROJECT SPECS

Area of Focus

Behavior change theory, Generative & evaluative research.


Tools

Miro board, Figma, Adobe Illustrator.


Methods

Literature review, User journey, Wireframing, Card design, Active reading, Design sprints.


Timeline

March 2019 – June 2019


Team

Devanshi Chauhan, Ivy Zhang, John Zoshak.

5. PROCESS SUMMARY

Every 2 weeks (week 2, 4, 6) before class we read academic papers related to 2-3 behavior change theories. Based on the readings we populated an active reading guide. In the class that week, we discussed the theories as a group, and then translated the insights from the theories into design cards such that other designers may utilize these in their work . The next week (odd numbered week), the entire class time of 4 hours was dedicated to a design sprint. For each sprint, we were divided into teams of 3 and were presented with a behavior change redesign challenge with a persona that we needed to design for. This was a very structured and timed process developed by our professors that utilized the cards me and my peers had created the previous week. We were really asked to focus on the ethical implications of our designs, as well as learn to advocate for the efficacy of our designs.

6. MY ROLE

I created active reading journals and design cards based on the readings. I made all the user journey maps for our design sprints. We all wireframed our solutions. John and I created the slides for each of the sprints tying theory to our design decisions while Ivy led the final design. The designs you see here are all mine as I went back and changed them based on the feedback from our professors.

For a detailed case study, use the desktop

 

TIMELINE

WEEKLY TIMELINE (9 WEEKS)

Week 1

Theory — 

Game Design

Design Card — My team always wins

Week 3

Design Sprint — 

New York Times

Week 5

Design Sprint — 

King County Metro

Week 7

Design Sprint — 

Apple TV

1

7

8

6

5

4

3

2

Week 2

Theory — 

  • Transtheoretical Model of Change

  • Health Belief Model

Design Card — ​How you doin?

Week 4

Theory — 

  • Theory of Planned Behavior

  • Social Cognitive Theory

Design Card — ​One thing leads to another

Week 6

Theory — 

  • Goal-setting

  • Motivations, & Incentives

Design Card — ​Break it down to build it up

Week 8-9

Design Sprint Redesign

 

DESIGN CARDS

Hover to see the second side!

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DESIGN SPRINT ONE

THEORY — 

  • Transtheoretical Model of Change

  • Health Belief Model

THE CHALLENGE

Enable user to read diverse articles

THE CLIENT

New York Times

DELIVERABLE

Web app screens

SCENARIO

As Regi heads home after a day of classes, they think it is a good idea to read the news. The NYT website is bookmarked on their browser, and Regi clicks on the link to visit the site. They open up 5 articles aligning with their political views, but after reading 2 of them, decides it is better to take a shower and proceed to study for next week’s Art History Exam.

Regi.png

Regi

“I want to get into politics, so it is key to stay updated with current events.”

A first-generation college student what wants to make their family proud. For Regi, debating and finding common ground is a calling.

Regi is generally a calm person, but loses it in the face of injustice.

Works part-time. Self supported.

 DESIGN PROMPT 

 

THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT REGI AND WHAT WE TOOK AWAY

Wants to stay well informed, has political aspirations, and likes debating so already has the desire to read diverse articles. Hence we would place him at the (Transtheoretical Model of Change) Preparation → Action stage. As a self supporting student they probably don’t have enough time to browse and look for articles and hence we’d rather provide them with it.

USER JOURNEY 

Current user journey

Target Behavior

What we know

Our Intervention

Leaves from

school

Likes to be informed.

Has political aspirations.

Likes debating.

Transit

Reads/listens to 2 viewpoints on the same topic during transit

Opens

NYT

Selects

5 articles

How do they pick these?

Reads 2 articles

What made them leave after just 2/5 articles?

Leaves to go shower

Reads 2 viewpoints on the same topic

Self supporting student, doesn't have the time to browse to find articles

Baby Steps F.png
Baby Steps B.png

Listens 2 viewpoints on the same topic via VUI

 

OUR INTERVENTION

SCREEN 1-5 — BABY STEPS

By inviting the user to take the simple action of reading two articles with differing views we’re creating an easy task to get them started (remove barrier of not knowing where to find diverse articles) and increase their sense of self-efficacy.

 

We’re also (not-so) subtly demonstrating ideal behavior by having them read articles with differing viewpoints.

NYT Design Sprint-01.png

Ethical Concerns — Our persona can get upset when they see injustice, depending on the content of the article they may experience emotional distress. However, since they are opting in to this program (which does mention reading opposing viewpoints) that ameliorates some of these concerns. 

SCREEN 6-8 — GOAL SETTING

These screens allow the user to pick their personal goal of how diverse they’d like their news using a visual bar.

 

We are enabling the user to progressively set their goals and thus improving their

self efficacy.

SCREEN 9 — GETTING BACK ON TRACK

By showing the user where they are relative to their goal and making recommendations for achieving it; we’re offering a potentially harder challenge depending on their reading habits. We’re also providing feedback as to where they are.

 

Overtime, this design could lend itself to increasing the number of differing viewpoint articles required to get back to goal - increasing the difficulty of the challenge while leading to more of the desired behavior.

Design Sprint NYT-09.png

Ethical Concerns — However, there are ethical considerations to making this too difficult as our persona leads a busy life and reading more articles may prevent him from obtaining other goals.

 

DESIGN SPRINT TWO

THEORY

  • Theory of Planned Behavior

  • Social Cognitive Theory

 DESIGN PROMPT 

THE CHALLENGE

To reduce single person car trips / increase public transit use

THE CLIENT

King County Metro

DELIVERABLE

Mobile Application

SCENARIO

In the morning, Fred checks the morning traffic conditions while waiting for his coffee to brew. It is raining, and it looks like traffic will be bad. Fred notices that is new shoes and long suede coat are covered in mud. Fred regrets not wearing the right outfit for today’s weather.

Fred.png

Fred

“I don't know how to update my phone. My younger sister shows me the new apps

I should use”

Recently started at a new job. He is delivering results, but finds it difficult to mesh with his new colleagues.

 

Concerned with what people think about him `in the office.

 

Likes high end clothing brands. 

 

THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT FRED AND WHAT WE TOOK AWAY

Fred cares a lot about what other people think, and is maybe a little self-conscious since he finds it hard to mesh with his new colleagues. We chose the subjective norms design card since that seemed like a natural fit with Fred so concerned about his perception to others.

USER JOURNEY 

Current user journey

Target Behavior journey

What we know

Our Intervention

Home

Checks Traffic

Rushes to Car

Car

Gets necessary info (route, time, weather, traffic, cost)

Anything but a car

Decision Making

Cares about what others think of him

Wants to form connections with co-workers

Work

KC-01.png
KC-02.png
 

OUR INTERVENTION

SCREEN 1 — NOTIFICATIONS AND SUBJECTIVE NORMS

To pique the Fred’s interest and begin exposing him to his coworker’s desired behavior we decided to use push notifications that let Fred know how many of his colleagues are commuting this morning.

 

The theory of planned behavior holds that if there is increased perceived social pressure to perform a behavior a person is more likely to perform that behavior. This intervention directly implicates the theory of planned behavior by specifically telling Fred both the number of coworkers commuting by transit and that they are coworkers - a highly relevant social group to Fred. By exposing Fred to the desired behavior we are increasing the likelihood he will perform that behavior.

Ethical Concerns — We want to walk a fine line between social pressure and social shame. We don’t want to make Fred feel bad about himself, so that’s why we’re sticking with neutral language that merely reports the number of coworkers that are choosing transit for this commute-time.

SCREEN 2 — CO-WORKER COMMUTE MAP

KC 2.png

This is an embellishment to a transit map that shows the number of coworkers who have selected transit as their commuting option and shows a sample of those coworkers by using small profile photos.

Similar to the notification intervention, we wanted to highlight the number and relationship of transit commuters to Fred. This intervention goes a step further by showing Fred a sampling of the coworkers that chose to commute by transit via small profile photos. By demonstrating who is doing the transit we could increase the social pressure on Fred to use transit which, of course, directly implicates the theory of planned behavior’ subjective norms construct. 

 

We could imagine enhancing this feature by drawing the sample of coworkers from Fred’s department, or perhaps senior leadership.

Ethical Concerns — We had initially considered showing on the map the coworker’s commutes in real-time with their real locations. We quickly abandoned that idea in favor of user privacy. We opted for a generic “X people are commuting by transit” message, which has fewer ethical implications. It is possible that seeing so many of his coworkers performing a desired behavior may heighten Frank’s sense of “not fitting in” and cause mental/emotional stress. However, because of the app’s neutral language we think that this risk is minimized.

SCREEN 3 — #WhatIDidOnMyCommute Photo Stream

The idea behind this feature is to share what activities commuters are doing while in transit. Users could share (via a picture feed) what they did while commuting to their destination. E.g.: read a book, listened to a podcast, learn a language, etc.

Taking the 3rd recommendation from the design card “Include content that incorporates HOW the user’s network is achieving certain behaviors along with WHAT the behaviors are.” We are showing the fun activities that Fred’s social circle is partaking in while commuting, to encourage Fred to join in the fun. Leveraging the social norms, we want to expose Fred to content displaying behavior that is attainable and currently practiced by people in his social circle (coworkers). By contributing to the sense that transit use is both fun, and more importantly for the theory of planned behavior’s subjective norms construct, ubiquitous, we can nudge Fred to take transit.

Ethical Concerns — Similar to risks related with overexposure to social media, this feed might negatively affect Fred. People could potentially have a false persona online which could seem unattainable and in turn discourage Fred from even trying.

KC 3.png
 

DESIGN SPRINT THREE

THEORY

  • Goal-setting

  • Motivations, & Incentives

 DESIGN PROMPT 

THE CHALLENGE

Communicate with loved ones.

THE CLIENT

Apple

DELIVERABLE

Apple devices (Apple TV, iPhone, iWatch, but primarily Apple TV and Iphone)

SCENARIO

Lea gets home from work and is excited to watch the US women's soccer match (happening in Colombia, Lea’s native country) while having dinner with her wife. She records the match. She gets nostalgic for home and plans a trip to Colombia with her wife and gets ready to sleep.

Lea

“My family is not active on social media, and calling them constantly is feels awkward.”

Wants to stay connected to her family, but it has been a challenge since she moved to the US.

Tries to avoid family pestering her about her life.

Has a healthy relationship with her wife.

Lea.png
 

THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT LEA AND WHAT WE TOOK AWAY

Lea cares a lot about her personal autonomy. She wants to communicate with her family but she doesn’t like it when they bother her with personal questions. Timezones are a challenge and she finds it awkward to communicate with her family over phone. We hypothesize that by providing her with an experience that she controls (maybe no voice chat tonight), and is focused on a specific event (soccer!* not her personal life) she will be more likely to engage with her family because her sense of autonomy has been strengthened.

*We’re also hypothesizing that her family in Colombia will stay up for the soccer game, negating the timezone issue and making the game a great candidate for the intervention.

USER JOURNEY 

Current user journey

Target Behavior

What we know

Our Intervention

Work

Excited for the Soccer match

Commute

Could talk on her way home

Home

Dinner with wife

Soccer match

Planning trip

Sleep

Watches match with family in Colombia

Nostalgic for Colombia

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Doesn't have to talk on the phone about personal matters

Could plan the trip with family

Enjoys the activity

 

OUR INTERVENTION

SCREEN 1-3 — BEFORE THE GAME

With this feature we are allowing Lea to invite her family to share the experience of watching a soccer match together. With this app we want her to be able to have control over who is invited to view the match, she can send out the invitations and customize what info will be displayed, the invitees will then get a notification to join the viewing. This feature enables Lea to select who (her family!), what (soccer!), when (during the match!), and how to communicate (no audio/video but yes chat/emojis!).

Lea has the drive to communicate but has certain barriers (doesn’t like talking over the phone and doesn’t want to talk about personal life, her family doesn’t use social media) To enable Lea’s autonomy as well as leveraging an activity that she actually enjoys (watching soccer) we concluded that we would allow her to communicate with her folks back home using the soccer match as the point of focus and the apple TV as the medium. By enabling Lea to select Who (her family), What (not her personal life, but soccer), When (while watching the match). How (maybe just chat+emojis, no audio or video) she communicates, we are empowering her sense of autonomy. Self Determination theory holds that a sense of autonomy can foster intrinsic motivation to perform a particular behavior. We think by offering this degree of control we are offering Lea that sense of autonomy which will support her goal of communicating with her family more.

Ethical Concerns — Here Lea is in a position of power where she gets to pick the terms of communication and her family only gets to accept or decline her invitation. But in favor of Lea’s autonomy and the action of communicating with loved ones this seems like a fair bargain.

Lea gets an apple tv notification about
Screen showing Apple invitation settings
The invitation that Lea's family receive

SCREEN 4-5 — DURING THE GAME

Screen showing interactions between Lea
The ephemeral messages on the side

We’re trying to drive Lea’s intrinsic motivation to communicate with her family so we’ve created a controlled watching experience that shows what Lea has allowed it to show. Depending on what we has enabled, using her phone she can choose to send quick messages and emoji reactions (we assume she will prefer these) or use video/audio (we assume she won’t enable these). We took inspiration from instagram/facebook and the chats/reactions will be ephemeral on the screen but the full record will be stored in the app. We think it’s better to have quick reaction options so the focus can remain on the game and not on the phone.

 

Connection to Theory / How This Helps

SDT posits that intrinsic motivations can come from fostering a sense of autonomy. Based on Lea’s specific challenges we think that autonomy is the right approach for her. By only showing what Lea has enabled to be shown (e.g. text, emoji-reactions) we can create a safe environment for her to interact with her family while supporting her sense of autonomy, encouraging her to communicate with her family over shared events. 

Ethical Concerns — By limiting the interactions to a circumscribed event and communication channel we could be fostering a sense of isolation, or hurting the feelings of the family if they later find out video could be enabled. However, we think these concerns are outweighed by the need to foster Lea’s sense of autonomy.

 

REFLECTION

LIMITATIONS

TAKEAWAYS

FUTURE DIRECTION

Accessibility test — We were very mindful of making sure we followed accessibility standards but we did not put the designs through any tests.

Iterations & Testing — We each had several ideas which we combined to create our interventions but we weren't able to test it with real users (other than our peers) and iterate upon it.​ These solutions might be a good first draft but aren't the final solution.

Vocabulary — Certain applications we learn in theory are very intuitive and are already in practice in UX, although reading theory gives me the words and vocabulary to convey my ideas and collaborate with more ease.

Content Strategy —  Most often as UX practitioners we overlook content and writing, this class really made me reflect on how reframing a sentence can lead to different outcomes.

Tool Kit — In all my projects moving forward I employ active reading as a way to read and convey ideas from theory. I also look at my designs through the point of view of behavior change design and avoid dark patterns.

Ethical consideration — Influencing behavior is a powerful tool, with great power comes great responsibility, hence whenever I apply my design skills I will be considering the ethical implications of making a decision.

Theory Application — Theory can seem very daunting but has incredible applications in the real world it's only a matter of breaking it down into digestible actionable insights.