When it comes to signing products for a better user experience UX designers often must immerse themselves into the lives of their target audience.

This means that UX professionals would need to put themselves in the shoes of their target audience which implies doing user interviews, creating personas, designing user flows, journey maps, doing focus groups and etc.

All these are in the attempt to accurately engage the people that UX professionals wanted to influence.

In today's article Behavioral Design UX, we will tackle how this type of design it's considered to be the future of UX.

We will also discuss the following topics:

What is Behavioral Design?

A working and successful product was not just a result of proper UX planning but more of utilizing the power of observing the D behavior of the target customers.

this is simply because for a product or app to be successful, your target users should use it to avoid problems like users’ failure to adapt to the product.

The product should always resonate with your users. for this reason, a basic UX plan is never enough, and thus the importance of utilizing behavioral design in UX.

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You can see a lot of behavioral designers who combine psychology design technology and creative methods to know why people behave as they do and at the same time figure out through experimentation how to change or influence their psychology behavior.

Behavior design is considered a branch of scientific research that aims to answer what makes people do certain things, applied within a tech framework.

Simply put UX understanding, is all about considering what drives the user to make a certain decision. it tries to define what motivates the user and what kind of rewards or validation is needed when it comes to developing a prototype.

You may observe that behavioral design is very user-centered. It aims to understand the users’ emotions and needs and use them as a guide to the overall development of the product while at the same time considering all the possible triggers in order to get the user to take a certain action.

The behavioral design follows the following formula:

A user’s behavior = ability + motivation + trigger

As you can see from the above formula the right triggers can create a user’s ability and motivation to complete a certain task. The formula shows where UX development and behavioral design intersect.

in this case, the line between positive influence and manipulation is very fragile. However, behavioral design it's more about using deliberate action and techniques to influence the user behavior toward a wanted action.

Why behavioral design is the future of UX

When software creators and developers stay there just sign on proven principles and tire the more chances they are building products that people like to use.

But this is not enough since people are purchased to be poor and self a testament of what they really want. so without behavioral this prime, you asked developers and designers are working on a product with one hand tight behind their back.  

As you may have probably known you ask is a fast-paced industry with ever-changing principles since it is leaning more on the users center UX design processes.

Instead of letting users conform to an app or product developers and designer are creating a product to play into well at established user motivation and drivers.

Behavioral design Also cross references with the newest trending advancements in software like voice control and virtual reality. These new game-changers are built with the user’s motivations in mind.

We can see that the future of UX is closely linked to behavioral design and having these principles to guide development will help software stay competitive in a fast-paced field.

Here are several reasons why UX future is on behavior design

Behavioral design creates the best user experiences

An article by Tim Harford explains why there are types of technology with a prominent role when it comes to understanding the technology landscape, specifically software-based technology.

The reason behind this is that software developers have found a powerful formula for combining user experience and UX design expertise with scientific testing.

Software designers are stealing the limelight from other industries by advancing more rapidly through a commitment to user testing. According to Harford, “behavioral psychology design” is becoming a buzz phrase.

Behavioral design influence is far-reaching

Software development is not only the industry where behavioral design can be utilized. stands behavioral design goal is to solve the biggest challenges, the concept can also be applied to solving society's problems.  

Solving problems such as how can people live better lives? How can we design products that are sustainable? How can we provide product design to make it easy for beginners to use it?

Since behavioral design encompasses a lot of niches and industries, it is an advantage to apply this concept to software or product development app as it can provide a lot of good insights that UX designers and developers can use to improve the product. 

Behavioral research and motivation

The principles behavioral researchers are discovering can be applied to user experiences and marketing strategies.

Applying the findings from behavioral research can massively improve any marketing conversion rates.

Apps interface and websites that are most successful have found a way to create wonderful experiences

Behavioral design and its effectiveness

Behavioral design is used to fill in the gaps

Behavioral designs sprung from behavioral science or the study of human behavior and psychology that are true to all users.

through the existence of behavioral user experience design, UX designers and developers can create a product or an app that is based on a proven explanation of why people behave the way they do so they can enjoy using the product created for them.

Furthermore, UX designer and developers take advantage of the existing patterns of behavior when it comes to creating user experiences that can drive an increase in usage of the product or app interface.

Behavioral design uses what we understand about the neurological loop

This is a cue that triggers a routine (behavior) that delivers a reward. Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated. Because of behavioral science, we know how the reward is delivered and makes an impact on how strongly the behavior is reinforced.

Defined as the habit loop by a journalist named Charles Duhigg, it refers to neurological loop that governs any habit consisting of three elements: a cue, a routine, and a reward.

According to him, understanding these elements can help in understanding how to change bad habits or form better ones.

Behavioral Design Principles

There are a lot of behavioral design principles but the ones that will be mentioned here are very applicable to in-app user experience designs.

Some behavior design principles are pervasive that they become the foundation of all software and app development.

Here are several design principles related to UX:

Make an easy and frictionless process

Cues are provided to enable users’ behavior to change and eventually guide them through taking an action.

UX designer and developers add an extra step to this to form the model (cue- action- reward).

The goal here cueing a user to take any action, providing a reward to encourage the continuation of the behavior.

Some design principle examples that you are already familiar with include confetti appearing on your screen when you tick a task off your to-do list app. Or perhaps you have some fun creature fly across your screen, like the task manager Asana developed.

Social Proof

Social proof is one of the triggers that influence user behavior and decision. Between a two-star review and a five-star review which product would you choose to buy?

People feel safe and legitimized if their decision making is based on the choice of the majority. they feel less alone when they see that they are supported by others who also did the same thing.

Creating a best sellers category can greatly influence the buying decision making of users who will likely choose to buy simply because these products are brought by the majority.


Because of the fast pace world brought upon by the digital age, it all tired how people react online. These days, users often make snap decisions, and they expect an immediate answer.

This is also why most people prefer to scheme an article on a website without even reading the headline. most users will sacrifice perfection if they can easily choose what is presented to them in an obvious and quick manner.

Ostrich Effect

The ostrich effect is explained where people who have fallen out of having it or are not achieving their desired outcomes typically do not like to hear about it.

Reminding someone they have not logged in for a long time has an adverse effect on behavior because users don’t have a good emotional response to this kind of prompt.

Thus, you would notice there are several apps that take the route of giving an overly positive and encouraging approach to certain challenges.

Safe Searching

Find new applications most of the time users want to explore their app interface before committing themselves to anything. To do this users need to learn the app without encountering any unwanted challenges.  

This is where the back button and helpful prompts such as pick username are essential. Users are also often presented with the chance to revise or edit anything on the app when it comes to information.

Providing you with the ability to control and change the settings and information within the app gives a great user experience.

Behavioral Design Examples

You can see that almost every app has some aspect of behavioral design principle combined with it.

Let us take a look at several apps that utilize behavioral design principle:



Facebook has shaped the social media platform. Thanks to two behavioral designs, Facebook has severely influenced our behavior when it comes to interacting on social media.

One of the top companies who managed to infiltrate the minds of their users by tracking all activities inside their Facebook app. Facebook has worked with so many things inside their app that they are one of the experts in behavioral design, which they use to test several features on the site to better improve their user interface. 



Spotify platform is another example of how user behavior is influenced as the app itself chats all the user activities when it comes to listening to music on Spotify. Spotify perfectly knows how to suggest a series of music to listen to base on user behavior.

Another factor that contributes to Spotify's success is its personalization feature. Spotify Wrapped is decidedly an example of personalization done right. It’s not throwing around data and metrics just for the heck of it; instead, it keeps the spotlight on the users themselves and focuses on the parts of the Spotify experience which users genuinely value.



Fitbit is one of The Pioneers in the health fitness app. the most recognized feature of Fitbit is reminding users to move around when the watch remains still for a long time.

This influenced users’ behavior by following Fitbit suggestions which in turn over time becomes a habit because they see successful user completion whenever they reach 10,000 steps a day and they are motivated to continue with this streak.



Instagram is one of the many social media apps that heavily use social proofing.

A perfect example of this is influencing the user behavior of waiting for any notification when they post a photo on the app to check how many people liked it.

The users keep opening the app disc roll through the lights add to see the people who hit the hard button. this is a form of grab gratification that keeps users from coming back.



Adidas provides a feature on their app for all their registered users called Creator Club.

This feature works as a form of reward for all registered users who bought items on the Adidas website or in-store.

The money they spent is automatically converted as points and the higher the points are unblocked a lot of hidden features and restrictions to exclusive products and events.

Users’ behaviors are influenced by this kind of reward which motivates them to run higher to experience exclusive benefits.



Mint is a finance app that sends users a little celebration under payday. they send users a message that they got paid which encourages people to log in to see where their bank account now sits.

The goal of Mint is to create a habit for people to check the app and once they are on the app, they can also check the other features as well.

The strategy this strategy of announcing to users they got paid is a clever strategy to get the users hook to the app in the case they have fallen back on track.

The takeaway

Behavioral design research is just the beginning. By understanding the latest research findings from behavioral design, you can start improving the overall user experience of your website, app, or product.

However, which new principles should you apply to your website, app or product? How can the abstract findings be combined into your communications? Which ones really have conversion optimization applications?

You may wonder how to apply all the research you made. This is where testing within a specific environment is essential.

Also, you need to know that the “best” answer to this is not always intuitive. As you already know, it is always influenced by external variables. The best design depends on context.

If you want to learn more about behavioral design, we recommend that you always perform user testing. You’ll get better advice and learn from testing. It is also best to test these ideas within your own context. Context is key for any good behavioral design principle.

Seeking out the latest research is helpful but testing it in your own environment is vital.

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Mary Ann Dalangin

About the author

A content marketing strategist and a UX writer with years of experience in the digital marketing industry.

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  1. Hi. I am trying to learn more about how computers predict what selections end consumers will choose. Does the computer change values behind the “unviewable door prizes” based on previous end user selections?

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