wawaweewa… what a quarter
Before this class, I thought…
Consumer behavior is tied to incentives — if you reward people for some desired behavior, they’ll rationally perform that behavior in order to maximize their utility (assuming your reward is aligned with their willingness to accept). Is it obvious that I come from an econ background?
In general, I was pretty wrong — sure, you could pay people to spend more time outside, but wow that sounds like a ridiculously unsustainable product. Behavior change is a much more complex system and requires a careful coalescence of 3 key inputs: ability, motivation, and well-designed prompts.
Over the course of the quarter, I did this…
- Created a journey map to synthesize learnings from a diary study + follow-up interviews
- Conducted secondary research and produced a 2x2 comparator matrix
- Designed an intervention study
- Came up with some cool ideas and tested them with wireflows
- Created a style tile
- Designed some mockups
In the interest of not duplicating what I’ve already written for the portfolio case study (you can read that here), the above highlights are just a few selected project contributions that I’m personally proud of.
Now I think…
Throughout the quarter, I’ve learned a lot about designing for behavior change. Changing people’s behavior is fxckin hard, and designing for it requires a lot of due diligence in terms of identifying a behavior to change, for whom to change it, and how to actually go about doing so without producing terrible, unintended effects (re: ethical analysis of our project — I basically ripped apart our app but hey, gotta keep it real).
People don’t behave “rationally” because we are fundamentally such dynamic beings that behavioral economics models just cannot accurately capture our fleeting desires, motivations, and actions, not to mention our constantly changing environments that shape what we think, say, and do. Because of this, the way we design for behavior change must carefully take into account the possible implications of our work — not only under the assumption of rational users, but also all the edge cases. Cause we’re all frickin edge cases.
Next time when faced with a similar situation I will…
Make a connected circle. This is not a joke — I had never heard of or utilized this model before, but it was an incredibly helpful visual tool for mapping out the different cause-effect relationships in the behavioral ecosystem (and I see many other useful applications, even outside of behavior change).
Since I’m nostalgic — the very first connected circle I made in this class, and the first of many to come :’)
Thank you, teaching team, for a lovely quarter ❤️