Building in Better Behavior

Recently I bought a new car that has tons of newer safety features.  Specifically, one feature is set so that if you pass over lane markings (those white and yellow lines painted on the roads) without using your turn signal you get an audible alert. Apparently this technology has been around for a while, but it is the first time I’ve seen it or have used it in action.

The great outcome that I’ve noticed in only 2 weeks is that this system is improving the amount of time I’m using my turn signals and thus making me more compliant with proper driving behavior.

This led me to think of the opportunity to build in systems to encourage better behavior in all aspects of our daily lives.  How can we make sure to take the time, and possibly design in the expense, to make our users better at what they ‘should’ be doing?  It’s almost counter-intuitive to design a system that helps ‘remind’ users to take an extra step (turning on the turn signal in this case,) but the car manufacturer has figured out how to market it as the strategic advantage of making the overall car more safe.

Sometimes designing for the most efficient path isn’t the most optimal.  What behaviors could you encourage for your users with just an extra step, and how could you market that as a win-win?

Of course, you should also examine the data of what each new feature does too.

Matt Kane

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