Applied Behavioral Science

I firmly believe a grounding in behavioral science is essential for engaging product design. And yet, many people who design and evaluate products haven't even heard of the term. Here are some excellent resources for building a foundation in the subject. Happy designing!

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
I've had the opportunity to work with Dr. Cialdini first-hand. He was an advisor to me, and much of my basis for applied behavioral science stems from his research. I highly recommend his book.

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
This book covers a few important cognitive biases, and is one of the rare books to actually discuss direct application in web design and product pricing, such as "decoy options". Definitely a worthwhile read.

Thinking, Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman
This book takes a biological approach to helping understand our choices and our behaviors. Reading this book will help you understand how feelings trump rational thought, which is a critical lesson in designing for engagement. by BJ Fogg
Fogg's behavior model is an incredibly simple and useful framework for thinking about how to influence actions, focusing on "triggers" rather than purely motivation and ability.

MINDSPACE by Institute for Government
This is a fabulous read based on significant contributions from Robert Metcalfe, a behavioral scientist I've worked with numerous times and greatly respect. It's a relatively easy-to-follow distillation of a comprehensive set of behavioral factors and drivers and applicable interventions. If you're short on time, check out page 80.