A behavioural designer focuses on what people do. They focus on actions both inside and outside of a digital product or service. They look at what influences people, the decisions they make and how this impacts the user’s behaviour.

A behavioural designer knows that what people do and how people think are influenced by many factors. Some obvious. Most hidden. And the majority of the factors are outside of the influence of other problem solving sectors, like product design, customer experience and user experience.

To reveal these factors they use behavioural science. Theories and principles established and proven in academia. They draw insights from behavioural economics, social psychology, cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

A behavioral designer looks at people’s behaviour in context. They explore what caused people to decide one thing over another, and map the influence of other people on the user's behaviour.

A behavioural designer’s job consists of:

Intervention design

Interventions are the design of an experience that triggers behaviour change. An intervention targets conscious and unconscious influences that inform what people do. They are designed and measured based on the positive impact they have on people.

There are four intervention design types. A behavioural designer works across habit design, persuasive design, preventative design and intervention design. User motivation and business needs determine which intervention design type is selected.

Create behaviour maps

Behaviour maps reveal how a customer’s actions are dependent on factors outside of their control. Factors like what other people are doing and elements in their environment. It maps what people are doing, thinking, feeling and how these change depending on the different behavioural scenarios.

Learn more about behaviour maps. Read ways of working.

Write behaviour scenarios

Behaviour scenarios are used to describe the possible actions customers take. They are the ‘if people turn left vs if people turn right’ stories. They are a core tool to design an intervention. They are similar to a user story, but specifically include the 3 Drive factors Me, We and Oversee to view the actions in the context of influence.

Learn more about Drive. Read ways of thinking.

Create choice architectures

How information is structured and presented influences what people choose. This is choice architecture. It goes beyond structuring information to make it easier to understand, and focuses on how information is used in the lead up to and after a decision. Choice architecture isn’t about manipulation. It’s about providing the right information in the right order to help people make the best choice.

Plan and execute co-creation workshops

A behaviour designer is able to go into large groups of people and extract hidden insight. The insight a behaviour designer seeks is usually unconscious and revealed by subtle interactions between people. What people say is rarely what they think. A behavioural designer has to look deeper into what people do, how they interact and what words they use to communicate. They facilitate tasks with individuals and groups to extract these insights. The tasks can be directly relevant to the behaviour or a series of abstracted activities. Each is designed to reveal more about people and their social groups.

Plan, conduct and support behavioural research

To design for behaviour, you need to understand it. You need to take a deeper look into the influences that drive people. Some obvious. Most hidden.

Behavioural research has a large overlap with user research. But your focus is on discovering the factors that influence people across the scale and set levels of their behaviour.

Synthesise literature reviews

Behavioural design starts with insight. Cited and proven insight in the subject area, behaviour, or archetype involved. A behavioural designer assesses academic papers to extract key and useful insights. They use this insight to determine a possible direction early on in the process. Behavioural literature reviews save time and investment by discounting potential routes at the start of a project.

Apply human centred design

A behaviour designer knows design thinking. Both as an approach to problem solving and as a set of tools to use on a project. They put the user first, but keep a focus on other people directly and indirectly influenced by their design choices.