Action Design Blog

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How to Replace an Existing Habit

How to Replace an Existing Habit This afternoon, I’ve been digging into the interesting new conference calling app, Speek (you can check them out here; they are currently in Beta). Justin told me about them, and I had the opportunity to talk with their CTO and co-founder, Danny, last week. Here’s the problem:   They are […] Read more

A 10,000 foot view of how we choose our next action

In trying to understand how products change behavior, I’ve had a persistent problem – there are too many options.  Yep.  There are literally hundreds of different mechanisms that affect behavior and can be used to change it (see Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases, Goldstein’s Yes!, or the Marketing Sciences Institute’s recent book).   So, I’m writing up […] Read more

Using behavior change for more than “the dark arts” (coercion & manipulative persuasion)

Personally, I’m interested in voluntary, non-coercive action: helping people do things they want to do, but have struggled with. But, I can’t kid myself — Action Design directly builds upon research into coercion and persuasion, which I half-jokingly call “the Dark Arts”.  For example, many of the cognitive mechanisms that I use have been studied […] Read more

Action Design In Brief

Hey folks, I’m working on a 1-page description of the basics of the Action Design process – where the concept comes from, how each of the five-steps work, and especially how the design process works.  I’ve included what I have so far, on this page.  I’d love to hear what you all think. Read more

Talk at UXCamp DC on Action Design

A few weeks ago, I gave the first public talk about the process of Action Design – at a BarCamp on UX.    Here are the slides. The talk was ~30 minutes, and I gave an overview of the current research on behavioral change, then described how to design products that help people change their behavior […] Read more


Hey Folks, This is a new blog about Action Design, a process for developing products that help people change their own behavior in beneficial ways. I’ve been chewing on the idea for the last few years at HelloWallet, where we build products that help people get control over their finances. So, there are two places […] Read more