Persuasive Design

Your constantly-updated definition of Persuasive Design and collection of videos and articles

What is Persuasive Design?

Persuasive design is an area of design practice that focuses on influencing human behavior through a product’s or service’s characteristics. Based on psychological and social theories, persuasive design is often used in e-commerce, organizational management, and public health. However, designers also tend to use it in any field requiring a target group’s long-term engagement by encouraging continued custom.

Media technology, such as poster campaigns and television advertisements, has always played a significant role in influencing human intentions and behaviors. Since technology became interactive, its potential to influence behavior has increased immensely. In the 21st century, technology has the opportunity to adapt to the user’s input, needs, and context—a point which allows it to use the most appropriate social principle of persuasion (e.g., praise or reciprocation) in a specific situation. The advancing sophistication of resources available to designers means tailoring the user experience by weaving persuasive elements into it is achievable in increasingly discreet ways than were available in earlier years.

As psychological and social theories are often very broad and not adapted to design practice, the field of persuasive design is developing its own frameworks to support designers in making suitable design decisions. One of these frameworks, developed by B. J. Fogg, professor at Stanford University, is the Fogg Behavior Model (FBM). Fogg describes behavior as a product of three factors: motivation, ability, and triggers. According to the FBM, understanding these factors, along with designing products and services to optimize them, allows designers to achieve the desired behavior in users without resorting to negative tactics such as coercion or deception. Thus, the value of such frameworks lies in their ability to win customers and retain them without inviting risks of violating their trust or irritating them with Please-Don’t-Go pop-ups or Get-Back-To-Me tabs.

Literature on Persuasive Design

Here’s the entire UX literature on Persuasive Design by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Persuasive Design

Take a deep dive into Persuasive Design with our course Psychology of E-Commerce: How to Sell Online .

“Customer engagement is the direct route to every important business objective. It’s the pathway to everything good that a business could want.”

— Customer Experience expert Micah Solomon in Forbes

Online competition is fiercer than ever—and if you want to create a website that outperforms industry benchmarks in a big way, it’s vital that you know how to utilize your design skills to keep users engaged. The more engaged users are, the more likely they are to turn into paying customers—people who will buy your products and services time and time again, remain loyal, and ultimately become ambassadors for your brand both on- and offline.

Executing e-commerce successfully isn't easy: 69% of users abandon their shopping carts before checking out, according to Baymard Institute, a UK-based web usability research organization. That’s quite scary; what about the good news? Well, Baymard also found that many of the problems with e-commerce are solvable with changes to design.

There are many factors in designing great e-commerce experiences. You must know how to capture someone’s attention and present your goods and services in the optimal way. If you want customers who are committed, you’ll have to tell engaging stories and know how to build a long-term relationship.

In order to do all that, you will need to acquire and apply knowledge in human psychology. If you understand how your customers think, you can design for their needs. This course is based on tried and tested psychological techniques that bring together content and design so as to deliver hands-on advice for how to improve your web design and increase your customer engagement.

All open-source articles on Persuasive Design

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