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Behavioral Design
Design more effective solutions using behavioral science.

Product designers and innovation teams have a goal to create great consumer experiences for their users. It is an exciting but complex challenge: it is not easy at all to create solutions for people (all of us) who seem to make illogical choices, are quickly distracted, do not use the built-in functionalities, or do not follow the instructions provided.

At Heurística Lab, we firmly believe that the best tool to solve these types of challenges is by applying Behavioral science. This field of knowledge groups together disciplines such as psychology, behavioral economics and cognitive science; and it focuses on understanding the mechanisms that humans use when processing information and making decisions.


Around the world, public and private organizations are already incorporating this approach to enhance their design process, because it provides them with a series of inputs that they had never had at their disposal before:

  • A rigorous theoretical framework on the decision-making process of people.

  • Economic and psychological models capable of predicting our choices.

  • A variety of concepts that identify the mental shortcuts (heuristics) that we take when choosing, and in what circumstances they can lead us to make mistakes.

  • Scientific findings that have been shown to be effective in achieving change or adoption of new behaviors in real settings.


Known as Behavioral Design, this integration between Behavioral Science and design is capable of creating solutions better adapted to the particularities of the human mind. Heurística Lab makes these tools available in different formats that are adapted to the characteristics, methodology and ways of working of your organization.


What does a Behavioral Design project consist of?

Business case: "The supermarket challenge".


Imagine you work for a supermarket that presents the problem of having a high level of food waste, especially in fruits and vegetables. This results in economic losses and a negative environmental impact, so the supermarket wants to reduce this waste effectively. To design solutions, they hired Heurística Lab and provided us with the background of the case, based on previous studies.

Stage #1: Delimitation of objectives and identification of barriers

It consists of the delimitation of a specific behavior to be modified and a behavioral barrier to be solved with the solutions to be proposed.

Example of specific target behavior:

Incorrect: "Reduce waste of fruits and vegetables."

Correct: "Increase purchases of fruits and vegetables close to their expiration date by supermarket customers".


Example of main barrier to attack: 

Customer beliefs regarding the freshness and quality of produce close to expiration. Supermarket customers associate products close to their expiration date with lower quality, freshness or food safety, so they tend not to choose them.

Stage #2: Gathering of successful antecedents

This consists of looking for solutions, interventions or studies that have been carried out in similar contexts and with similar problems. The main input is scientific literature and reports of interventions from a behavioral science perspective.


Stage #3: Ideation of solutions 

This consists of designing a set of possible solutions to eliminate or reduce the effect of the selected barrier, thus increasing the probability that the target behavior will occur.


Example of solutions elaborated from Behavioral Design:

Product reframing: The framing principle is used to design a solution that changes users' perception of product freshness by reframing the communication strategy. For example, instead of emphasizing that products are "close to expiration", it could be labeled as "Product of the day" or "Fresh selection to be consumed today".

Satisfaction guarantee: The loss aversion principle is considered and a "satisfaction guarantee" is offered for the fruits and vegetables offered. If a customer is not satisfied with the quality of the product, he/she can get a refund or replacement immediately. This reduces the customer's perceived risk of "losing" their money and increases confidence in the product.


After designing solutions following Heurística Lab's Behavioral Design approach, they are ready to move to the prototyping and validation phase.

​Want to learn more about Behavioral Design?

Be sure to check out some of the materials we have for you.

Let's design more useful, attractive and memorable solutions.
Design products, services and processes based on behavioral science together with Heurística Lab.
Design or co-design of solutions: from the beginning of the project to the implementation and evaluation of results.
Expert Review: audit and actionable recommendations for the improvement of ideas or prototypes before they are implemented.
Capacity building: in-house course ‘Behavioral Science for Innovation’ (theoretical and practical program).

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