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Behavior design in User Testing

Friday 11 November 2011 - Filed under Usability News

Humans are creatures of habit. If you design a website that expects the users to change their behavior then the chances are you are going to encounter problems.

From when were born our behaviors and motivations for doing things begin to take shape. We respond in a way that is unique to us.

Some people prefer to start the day with a cigarette whereas for others its a trip to the gym. This is human nature.

As a Usability Testing consultancy we spend countless amounts of time trying to help businesses and organizations reach their Usability goals. We try our best to adapt their services, processes and systems to make them more human friendly.

That is the ultimate goal with User Testing; to make the product as useful and usable as it can be.

Recently though Ive been thinking about the whole process. At Testing User we may advise you of a system, process or tool that is more usable or just an improvement on what it was like before, but does that mean the user will actually use it?

What if users already have their own way of performing the same function? What if they don’t bother with that particular function at all? What if it doesn’t seem like worth the hassle? How is it possible to motive users into using functions which are better but may require more effort?

The obstacles that are presented are behavioral barriers and in order for User Testing to design websites for these users we have to understand their motives.

So now were talking about Behavioral design. In terms of digital products this was first investigated at Stanford University in 1993. According to Behavioral expert BJ Fogg were looking at the combination of three different forces. The Trigger. The Ability. The motivation. When added together these three components equal Human Behavior.

He states that if you identify a behavior that needs changing you must ask yourself three questions. Is the user being triggered? Can they do this themselves? Do they have a motivation to do that particular thing?

If any of the answers are no then difficulty with the change is likely.

Changing these no answers over to yes’s is one of the goals of behavior design.

I suppose behavior design goes part way to explaining why some websites that are well designed and have been invested in heavily just don’t work. Now if the product or service itself is okay we must put it down to the behavior barriers not being accounted for in the design process.

Using the theory presented by BJ Fogg pretty much makes Behavior design accessible to us all including the Testing User analysis. With user behavior taken into consideration when testing we can now provide more researched and tested designs.

2011-11-11  »  admin



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