Sign in

Design for Behavior Change

Designing for Behavior Change

Before this class…

True story: I walked into a design internship interview last spring without knowing what a design system was. As you can imagine, I fumbled that one… It turns out I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about visual design! In my previous HCI coursework, I had never taken a class that really explained the fundamentals there.

I also didn’t know a lot about the history of persuasive technology. I’d never had a dedicated class space at Stanford to talk about design justice, accessibility, rotisserie chicken being an instrument for manipulation at Costco, and more.

But in this class…


This write up is my final reflection for a quarter-long team project in CS247B: Design for Behavior Change during Winter 2021.

My Role: UX Design, User Research, Blob Expert.

You can check out the clickable prototype here, see the final presentation here, or read on to learn about the process.

The Opportunity

Rose, Isha, Katherine and I joined forces in CS247B to design towards a simple goal: to get young adults to go outside (safely) during the pandemic.

We knew we had an opportunity here because, truthfully, we were designing for ourselves. Like most college students around the country, we had been…

Project in Human-Computer Interaction for Christina Wodtke’s CS 247B: Design for Behavior Change lecture

Winter 2021, 10-week project

My Role: User Research, UX Design, and Team Organization

Project Summary

Our inter-department team of engineers and designers started from our collective desire to get higher quality sleep, despite the strain of college life. Our final product, Wynde, would help users do so with targeted and timely prompts — both additive (let’s meditate for two minutes) and subtractive (you shouldn’t have anything caffeinated).

This initial iteration leverages user perception of the Apple Watch as a health tool to encourage small shifts in behavior, helping…

Designing a better way to reduce night-time social media scrolling

As part of Stanford’s CS247B: Design for Behavior Change course, I worked with a team of four other students (Raina, Aishwaria, Mallika, and Danielle) to develop Nightfall. Nightfall is an app designed to help people reduce their night-time screen usage and sleep better. From January to March 2021, we made our way through the whole product design journey, from conducting primary research via diary studies to ideation, prototyping, and testing.

Understanding the Problem

Picking a domain

During our initial team meetings, we discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic had affected our lives and led…

The past 10 weeks have been the most design-intensive ones of my life. In fact, it was the first quarter that I ever took any design classes at all, ever. Sure, I enjoyed studio art and cake decorating — activities I engaged in as a child and teenager but dropped upon entering college and committing to the Computer Science route. The Stanford Computer Science core consists almost purely of assignments requiring lines upon lines of code and mathematical computations, which leaves little room for unrestricted creative energy.

What I’ve learned throughout this quarter from CS247B: Design for Behavior Change

Before this class…

I had never done any design work and also hadn’t sketched anything in years. My impression of design was that it was for artistically talented people with good visual intuition, and then maybe refined a bit through A/B testing. I knew a bit about behavior change from my psychology classes, but my knowledge was on high-level topics like classical and operant conditioning (good ol’ Skinner box), intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, and so forth. …

CS247B at Stanford during Winter 2021 has been an amazing experience. Classes were a welcome break from the otherwise draining Zoom fatigue, and I especially enjoyed the discussions centered around ethical implications of design choices. It was also a chance to discover a behaviour pattern that plagues several young adults around the world (including me, who am I kidding?), and try and build an intentional, well researched, rooted-in-ethics solution for it.

Before this class …

Even though I’ve worked at two startups before coming to Stanford, I hadn’t been involved in the design or product roadmapping discussions — I had always been “the engineer”…

What I did

My team and I reinvented what it means to text back with a new interface where we present messages as a once-a-day story summary. We hoped to change the bad habit of leaving people on read, or worse yet, just letting messages continue to pile up completely unaddressed.


CS247 was an incredible education experience for me that really helped tie together my education across HCI and throughout the different schools of Stanford. It was extremely rewarding (and fun!) to take the concept of Anchor from idea to a fully clickable Figma prototype.

I sharpened my need finding chops by discovering a user need and finding/testing a hypothesis around it. We designed an intervention that improved water intake for half of participants and reduced intake for no participants. However, the the more informative aspect of CS247 for me was fleshing out a prototype. …

We have a bad habit of neglecting unread messages.

Design for Behavior Change

Change is Hard

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store