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BCX Design founder David McCann (Photo: Ramegowda Bopaiah/Mint)
BCX Design founder David McCann (Photo: Ramegowda Bopaiah/Mint)

How behavioural science can help expand business

  • When you design for a customer who wants to buy new things, you need to find ways to work the way that the human brain works
  • You can incentivize by money, but you will eventually “run into a problem” when you pull that money away

NEW DELHI : Designing a user experience has a lot to do with understanding people. A little over half of our thought processes that happen over a day are intuitive processes.

“This is the part of the brain that works on autopilot. It regulates most of our emotions, it’s responsible for many of our stereotypes, and is often referred to as mental shortcuts or heuristics," said David McCann, founder of BCX Design.

When you design for a customer who wants to buy new things, you need to find ways to work the way that the human brain works.

“If we make customers think too hard, and make them do something that is quite different from what they consider to be routine they’re more likely to abandon that behavioural change," McCann said.

Twitter’s original 140 character limit is an example of this. It allowed people to share small thoughts in quick bursts, which is how we usually interact, McCann explained.

“We are hardwired as a species to resist behavioural changes," McCann said. “Depending on the frequency of the behaviour, it can take anywhere between one and nine months for a behavioural change to stick," he added.

You can incentivize by money, but you will eventually “run into a problem" when you pull that money away. “Think about sales people. Take away their sales incentives and see how hard they work," he said. Money can be used to attract new users, but if you have to pay to bring users back over and over again, then your business model has a problem, he explained.

When you try to incentivise people to return to a product, it’s better to give them feedback about their effort and helping them be more persistent in the short term.

Levelling up in video games is a very good example of this, McCann said.

“The more time and effort a user has spent playing the game, learning how to develop their character, they have a progress bar that shows how they’re levelling up. And when that level up happens, they get a little bit of drama or their character changes," he explained.

Behavioural sciences are very important when designing user experiences and trying to engage customers.

According to McCann, the ability to empathize and collaborate with your colleagues, the ability to understand your customer well enough that you can picture her.

If you understand this, you will have more business and engage more customers.

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