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Behavioral Design’s Impact on Your Small Business

By: Eleanor Hecks


Food delivery concepts with young people using application for buy pizza.comfortable life.technology and new normal routine

In design, there are many subcategories that specific how a website or other medium looks and behaves. Behavioral design puts the user’s experience (UX) at the forefront of the work and ensures the customer takes the actions the business owner wants. You can move something through the buyer’s journey much more easily when you understand what drives them.

Medium recently took an in-depth look at modern behavioral design and found there are some new factors emerging from the difficulties of the pandemic and the way humans behave in the first place. Researchers found context is vital in predicting behavior patterns and people are even more complex than we thought.

Digging deeper into what makes customers tick is as important as the finished look and functionality of your site. Here are the top things to focus on for a better behavioral design that enhances the UX of your website.

1. Know Your Goal

It’s hard to impact behavior if you don’t know what the end goal is. What exactly is it you want your customers to do? You may have more than one goal, but for each page of your site, you should have a singular focus.

Once you know the objective, it’s much easier to design every element to point the user to a specific call to action (CTA). Everything on the page guides them to the end result you want. Arrows point the way, images of people look toward the button’s location and the language encourages action.

2. Nudge Your Customers

Cornell University found people make thousands of decisions in a single day, with 220 of them being about food. You have to decide where you’ll go, what you’ll do, how you feel and how to respond to stimuli.

Professionals can nudge people toward one decision over another. In fact, it’s your job as a designer to show the path through the buyer’s journey so the customer doesn’t grow confused and wander down the wrong path.

One example of a nudge can be found at many customize your order locations, where you go through the line and select your sandwich toppings, pizza or taco filling. Each section is broken down by options such as “choose one meat,” “add veggies” and “select condiments.” When you get to the register, you might be nudged on the credit card terminal to leave a tip by being offered the option to leave 10%, 15% or 20%.

We get nudged along daily, so people expect a seamless experience. Just be upfront that there are other choices. Let them know you think this selection is best and move on.

3. Lay Out Your Site Map

Think about your buyer’s journey. How can you most easily move them through the phrases, from awareness to decision? Lay out the map of your website or store to take them through each phase.

The smoother the path and the fewer options, the more likely your site visitors might turn into leads.

4. Understand Problems & Desires

You likely already know you need to dig into the pain points your customers face so you can offer them a clear solution. However, you must also dig into the psychographics behind those pain points.

For example, someone might need a new smoke detector because theirs died (pain point/need), but their emotion is fear that a fire will break out and they or their family might be harmed. Fear is the underlying thing driving their actions. You can help alleviate their fears and move them through the buyer’s journey.

5. Use Social Pressure

According to DataReportal, there are approximately 4.48 billion social media users, or around 57% of the global population. Social media has become a mainstay in people’s lives. They often turn to social platforms for news, latest trends or to share their thoughts with brands.

One way you can make your design impactful toward users is by embedding social media tracks on your website. Add a feed to the sidebar, place icons at the bottom of the page and make sure people can easily share your content with their followers on various platforms.

Pay Attention to Trends

The world changes rapidly. New technology emerges, the focus of humans changes on a dime and people don’t care about the same things this year as they did last. Pay attention to the behaviors of your clients over time and adapt as needed to better meet their needs.

Frequent surveys to find out what they most need is an excellent way to keep your finger on the pulse of your target audience. Tweak your design, language and features. Conduct split tests. Change what doesn’t work and keep what does. Over time, your site will be one people flock to.

Published: October 25, 2021

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eleanor hecks

Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

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