Gently nudge your customers into a better experience

People don’t like being told what to do. We often talk about reverse psychology as a clever way of getting people to do what we want them to do, by asking them to do the opposite. The term “nudging” was first coined in 2008 and draws on research in psychology behavioral economics, to defend libertarian paternalism and active engineering of choice architecture. The term describes the theory of gently nudging people to better behaviors, by applying subtle behavioral psychology. Instead of telling people how to behave, nudge them into the better behavior. Instead of forcing people into submission, we let them make their own decisions, by defining the obvious choice. When people feel they have the control, they feel empowered and enriched by the experience.

My do’s and dont’s

Do let people make their own choice. Don’t force people into a choice or path that’s restricted or redundant. Let people touch or click wherever their eyes take them, but try to guide them into the better experience.

Do encourage people to explore or research, following the principles progressive disclosure. Don’t limit people’s will to explore more details and choices. Follow the three progressive design levels of simplicity, utility and arcane design accents.

Do put the better choice forward, while letting the bad choices being obvious. Be careful when you apply the principles of fierce reduction, as some people will find the removed choices desireable, even tough they aren’t good nor helpful to their journey. Customers will expect certain options being available, even though new research or be oriel analysis have proved otherwise.

In short; don’t force your customers, nudge them gently, little by little. This can be done over many interactions within one customer journey, or over many iterations, slowly changing your UI for the better.