Designing for Behaviour Processing

Cosimo Scarpa
NYC Design
Published in
3 min readJan 27, 2019


A product or service provides better emotional experiences when they respond in ways that are predictable or easy anticipated.

Realised on Sketch

In the last few years, there’s been a massive change in user-machine interaction. By now, the users have daily interaction with an impressive amount of devices, most of them with different interfaces and different tasks required.

The main problem so far is how we can make sure that the users have a clear understanding of how to interact with a specific product/interface or how to accomplish a task without making the users in the condition to stop thinking about what they need to do.

To facilitate the users’ flow we have to create a friendly and intuitive environment. Then, to do that, our product needs to have a familiar pattern for easy recognition of the environment, and micro-interactions to provide feedback for the users.

Visible Interaction elements

Visible Interaction Elements by Cosimo Scarpa

Be sure that the interaction elements are properly highlighted, available and more apparent at the appropriate time.

Accurate conceptual models

Conceptual Models by Cosimo Scarpa

Mental simulation of devices that enable users to judge the means of a specific action.

Natural mapping

Natural Mapping by Cosimo Scarpa

It occurs at a primitive level, it’s through this process we learn how to manipulate our environment.
It’s the base of behavioural learning theory, which acknowledges the human ability to extrapolate information derived from one situation to another one.

Proportional and meaningful feedback

UI Email Animation by Cosimo Scarpa

This is tied with the need for a visible result.

How people learn and how they change behaviour

The habit loop, realised on Sketch

In order to people that adopt new behaviours, they need to adopt new habits.
Almost 60% of everything we do, it’s about habit.

According to Charles Duhigg, he explained in his book The Power of Habit, that the habit has three component process.
First, we have a cue that its trigger for the behaviour to start unfolding. Then, we became usual and develop a routine. In the end, we expect a reward from this behaviour.

If we want to introduce a new UI environment, we need to be careful to give a reason for the unusual condition and motivate the users.
Usually, the users to adopt a new habit, they should be involved for a long-term.

Familiarity is important

It’s awesome to see some groundbreaking design, but a design that converts and functional it’s always better.
New and innovative interfaces or frameworks can look beautiful on Dribbble but if the users will have an issue, they will never click on the definitive CTA.

There are guidelines and it’s very important to follow that and be close to a familiar pattern, even if we are trying to introduce new behaviour.


We are always trying to find a balanced routine and to have a meaningful habit. Even if we are in a new environment, we look for a familiar pattern. Anyway, we can always force and change this habit if we want or we have to do.

As designers, we need to work for the experience, identify users’ cues and use the rewards to build up a routine.
In this way, we can help users from their habits and help them to use our product or service without the constant need to make conscious decisions.

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