Warm Gun: How to Win Users & Influence Behavior

by November 30, 2012

In his How to Win Users & Influence Behavior presentation at the Warm Gun Design conference in San Francisco, CA BJ Fogg walked through how behavior can be systematically understood and used for design. Here’s my notes from his talk.

  • Behavior is systematic. It’s only complicated if you don’t understand how behavior works.
  • Behavior can be designed for: pick the right behaviors to target, design specifically for them, and test your solutions quickly.
  • The behavior equation: b= mat. Behavior happens when motivation, ability, and triggers come together at the same time.

Know the Behavior You Want

  • Get clear on the behavior you are trying to target. Make the behaviors you want very crisp and detailed. “Engagement” is too vague. When it comes to behavior, your enemy is abstraction. What do you specifically what people to do? Get detailed.
  • What is the behavior type you are targeting? There are 15 different types. You can organize them by when people do stuff, when they don’t do stuff, that they know or don’t know how to do. See BJ’s model.
  • Dot behaviors: one time behaviors. Conversion and funnels work well for this.
  • Span behaviors: behaviors that happen over a period of time and then stop.
  • Path behaviors: things you will do from now on. Familiar habits.
  • Each behavior has a different recipe or formula for success. The way to get people to do things from now on is different than how to get them to do something once.
  • Decide which behaviors you want to target and from there what recipe you need to be successful.

Think in Terms of the Behavior Model

  • What will motivate people to do what you want?
  • Tap an existing motivation people already have, don’t try to motivate people to do something they don’t want to already do. That's often too difficult. Understand what motivation already exists then make it easy to get than done.
  • Ability: make things easier to do or train people to do things. Most people don’t want to be taught and train. They want single click and done behaviors.
  • Ability is more important than motivation. Be a master of simplification not motivation. If you make things easy enough to do, motivation doesn't have to be high. Motivation has to be really high in order for people to do hard, time-consuming things.
  • Motivation and ability have trade-offs.
  • The action line: you want people above it. This can be done with high motivation or ease of ability.
  • You can build habits without motivation by making things incredibly easy to do.
  • There’s many things you either have the motivation or ability to do but you lack a trigger. No behavior happens without a trigger.
  • Hot triggers are things you can do right now. Cold triggers require acting beforehand.
  • No behaviors happen without a trigger, don’t rely on people remembering to do things.
  • Get obsessed about triggers. Become an expert at trigger design.
  • Focus on triggering people that are above the action line: they have the ability or motivation. If you trigger people that the right time, they will thank you. If you trigger then when they lack ability they’ll get frustrated.
  • One of the winning formulas for triggers is to make it look like a friend contacted you, not the company.
  • Compare your design to winning formulas of behavior.