The Biggest Missing Element in Most Product Experiences, According to Behavioural Science (Does Yours Have It?)

Pretty graphs don’t drive meaningful user behaviour

The fact is, consumer apps do this all the time — provide pretty data with no expert suggestions alongside it. This is like giving you the ingredients to bake a cake, but asking you to come up with the recipe.

Reports and insights aren’t enough — users need your help to connect the dots

And the research is clear — simply tracking your behavior is not enough to change it. This is especially true in complex environments where the “best action” may not be obvious to the beginner. For example, researchers paid diabetics to monitor their glucose levels, and people did succeed in tracking their levels. But despite heavy monitoring, there was no actual change in glucose levels.

You can make the recommendation: you’re the expert

To truly support users, app developers should focus on guiding people on the behaviors (actions) they should take based on the data. Your users are Libby, and they need you to be the expert backpacker.

How do you guide user action? With behavioural design

Now, as a designer, taking this path opens up a whole new set of problems. How do you convincingly propose the best action, knowing your user’s assumption is probably different? How do you make it easy to do what you suggest, knowing any friction will reduce their likelihood to do it? And how do you show charts and graphs without triggering disappointment such that a user loses the motivation to do anything?

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Kristen Berman

Kristen Berman

Thinking about Irrationality. Behavioral Scientist. Co-founder of Irrational Labs and Common Cents Lab.