Can Design Drive Behavior?

I recently read Nir Eyal’s article “How Technology Tricks you into Tipping More” and was struck by the power of design to drive consumer behavior.  By displaying tipping options in digital payment systems, taxi drivers have earned 38% more in tips.

People are given 3 tip options and, according to the research, are most likely to be driven to select a middle option, in this case 20%.  Even though standard tipping for a taxi ride is anywhere from 10-18%, giving options for 15%, 20% and 25% drives higher tipping behavior.  It also forces people to consciously choose to not tip, an overt action leading people to tip when in the past they may have blown it off.

Similarly, Airbnb founder Joe Gebbia talks about designing for trust and how the design of the Airbnb app not only drove people’s trust in the product but also usage.  In his TED talk, he talks about the power of profiles and reviews in generating trust, and the effort the company put into designing just the right amount of trust to drive the customer experience and engagement.

Quite often we focus on ease of use in design and creating a usable interface, which are all good to think about. But these examples force us to look even further at using the power of design to drive behavior and the overall experience and outcome.

Jennifer Cuthill

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