Review: Designing for Behavior Change

Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics by Stephen Wendel is from O’Reilly (2013). The book is aimed at app developers who want to make a product that will be used regularly and will cause people to change their daily habits and routines.

It’s full of ideas, examples, studies, and information to help you plan, design, test, and deploy an app that will help people make a change. The change might be to exercise more often, save money, or something else. Many examples in the book are from HelloWallet, where author Stephen Wendel works, but there are plenty of examples from other places as well.

The book takes you through the complete process of figuring out the goal for your app, clearly stating the behavior you want to achieve, and the process of creating, designing and testing to make sure you accomplish the goal. There is science to back up the author’s suggestions. There are examples to help you understand what kind of behavior change you can expect people to make using an app, and how to get them to use it long enough to make the desired changes by keeping the interface simple. It talks about designing, coding, about measuring impact, and about refining a product as you go along.

Footnotes and appendices are many if you want to get into the various studies and examples cited in the book, but there’s plenty of information here to get you going with just this source.

Each chapter is almost a text in itself, because the author repeats many of the core princples of what you need to keep in mind in every chapter. It’s repetitious, but it also reinforces the key points at every step along the way.

Summary: An excellent guide to designing apps to create behavior changes.

A review by Virginia DeBolt of Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics (rating: 5 stars)

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. Opinions are my own. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. Here is my review policy. You can buy the book from O’Reilly, as well as Amazon. The link to O’Reilly is not an affiliate link.