Upping Your Game Through
Behavioral Design

Often tech companies tout the use of gamification, consumer insights, and UXD (user experience design) on their website. These approaches are touted as key elements underlying the success of giants like Disney, Google, Spotify, and Instagram for good reason; Behavioral design consisting of gamification, consumer insights and good UX make all the difference in user engagement and product success.

Using proven methods rooted in the behavioral sciences, game theory, user research, and UX design thinking, have demonstrated that simple, inexpensive tweaks within government and the private sector can create population-level behavior change. We now possess the scientific understanding of how healthier habits are formed along with the ability to employ these interventions through technology including using nudge theory in ways that people find pleasurable and motivating. This offers the potential to develop products that create large scale positive change in society.

Taking a “big picture” view will help your group to reduce blind spots and pitfalls.

Each of these approaches have made significant individual contributions to improving the products and services we all use. However, while they sound related in many ways, these three approaches have grown mostly in parallel over the past several years- which has led them to be more like cousins than siblings, specifically, cousins that only talk at family gatherings. There is overlap in their backgrounds and they share many overarching beliefs, but they use different “dialects” to talk about the same things and they demonstrate those beliefs through different methods. Thus, for companies looking to employ these best practices to improve their products and services, it can be almost impossible to know which approach is best for what types of problems. Comparing the three disciplines/ methodologies is rarely, if ever, done. There is no real guidance on what falls into the realm of gamification versus behavioral economics versus UX design or even which approach is best in any given situation. Often, the course of action is determined by the type of professional assigned to the project or employed by a company, who simply defaults to their area of expertise. This is clearly not the best way to understand problems or identify solutions as it always eventually leads to blind spots or pitfalls.


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