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User Behavior Change

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Influencing and facilitating

New or improved user experiences will generally need to involve a degree of behavior change. This will typically involve a shift towards more desirable behavior, linked to business goals or objectives.

As an example, on an e-commerce site, this might be a change to the way users select and buy products. A user goal linked to this might be a way to checkout more easily. A business goal linked to the change in behavior might be that customers buy more related or associated products. However, user experience design cannot force user behavior – it can only encourage them; user experience is not coercion.

Essential components

There are models in existence that help us to encourage and facilitate behavior change.

The Fogg Behavioral Model originated in Stanford Universities Persuasive Technology Lab. In this model, its author, B. J. Fogg, puts forward three factors that together lead to behavior change.

Fogg says that, for behavior change to take place, the following conditions must be in place:

  • Firstly, an underlying motivation, intrinsic or extrinsic, needs to be present.
  • Secondly, the user must have a suitable level of ability; they must have the right tools or features on a website, for instance.
  • Finally, an appropriate trigger needs to be applied to prompt action at a relevant time.

So let’s think of a practical example where this model goes to work. Let’s say a customer visits a website, we’ll say it’s for cycling equipment. They browse a number of products and add a number of those products to their shopping cart on the website. They subsequently leave the website without checking out and the products remain in their shopping cart. A number of days later, the same customer receives an email generated by the website, informing them that one of the products in their shopping cart has since had a 10% reduction in price. The user then clicks a link in the email and is taken directly to their shopping cart on the website. They then proceed to checkout, saving 10% on one of the products they had in their cart.

According to Foggs’ model, the behavior, that of purchasing the products, has been facilitated in the following way.

  • The customer displayed a motivation to purchase the products when they visited the website previously and added those products to the cart.
  • The trigger was the email they received, telling them that there was a discount on a product.
  • The business provided the ability to follow through, through the functionality of a link on the email and then the e-commerce facility itself on the website.

Identifying what the motivations and triggers might be in any given behavior is the role of research. This can then feed into the design, which can offer the appropriate ability through interactions and content.

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Rick Monro

Rick Monro is UX Director at Fathom. He has extensive experience in user research, interaction design, user-centered design, and design strategy with private and public sector organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Appraise practices for planning UX research
  • Critically evaluate the roles of innovation and users in User Experience (UX) research
  • Evaluate cognitive biases that can affect research data

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    If you are interested in learning about the principles of UX and the tools or techniques that you can use to develop and refine your user's experience, DMI has produced a short course on the subject for all of our students. You can access this content here:

    DMI Short Course: UX Essentials

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      UX Research
      Rick Monro
      Skills Expert

      With the help of Rick Monro, you will develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective user experiences. You will learn how to think like a user in order to understand their priorities and needs, and you will recognize the role of various research and analytics techniques such as tree-testing, card-sorting, user-testing, user-surveys, Google Analytics and specialized tools such as Click-tale.