Engaged Cover


Designing for Behavior Change

By Amy Bucher

Published: March 2020
Paperback: 320 pages
Digital ISBN: 978-1933820-41-5
ISBN: 978-1933820-42-2

Behavior change design creates entrancing—and effective—products and experiences. Whether you’ve studied psychology or are new to the field, you can incorporate behavior change principles into your designs to help people achieve meaningful goals, learn and grow, and connect with one another. Engaged offers practical tips for design professionals to apply the psychology of engagement to their work.

If these describe you, you may be the audience for this book:
• You love attending conferences like UXPA, CHI, the Habit Summit, or HxRefactored
• Your commute finds you listening to podcasts like Freakonomics Radio, 99% Invisible, HumanTech, or Radiolab
• You have a job title like product manager, designer, or experience strategist (or you do the type of work associated with those titles)
• You’ve worked in design agencies, on in-house strategy or design teams at big companies, or for yourself with clients
• Your shower time is spent thinking about how to make the world a better place by making new products and experiences or fixing the ones already there
• You’re always wondering why people do what they do and how to design for them

Hear author Amy Bucher on The Rosenfeld Review Podcast

Paperback + Ebooks i All of our Paperbacks come with a FREE ebook in 4 common formats.


Ebooks only i All ebooks come in DRM-free Kindle (MOBI), PDF, ePub, and DAISY formats.


More about Engaged


An incredibly comprehensive and intelligent guidebook for designing products and services that change people’s lives.

—Nir Eyal, bestselling author of Hooked and Indistractable

Engaged demystifies the psychology behind behavior change and offers practical methods and examples for applying it to product design. A worthwhile introduction for anyone trying to help users achieve health, financial, or other goals.

—Kim Goodwin, author of Designing for the Digital Age

Engaged draws from the latest science on behavior change and compelling examples to teach design professionals to create world-class products that make big impacts on users’ lives. Clearly written and well-researched, Engaged is a great addition to any designer’s toolkit.

—Scott Sonenshein, Rice University professor and bestselling author of Stretch and Joy at Work

Amy’s book is shockingly practical, showcases the impact of behaviors on design in practice, and provides clear tips and approaches you can immediately employ to benefit your work.

 —Alyssa Boehm, user experience executive

Bucher proves in this step-by-step guide that behavior change design is valuable to all areas of design.

—Lis Pardi, Experience Design Manager, Toast

Interest in behavioral economics has exploded in recent years as product teams strive to empower people to achieve meaningful goals. For all on that journey —entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, product managers, designers, researchers, engineers—this is a comprehensive playbook that translates behavioral economic theory into practical, actionable, and ethical design techniques.

—Jen Cardello, VP, Head of UX Research & Insights, Fidelity Investments

I have witnessed large audiences of people be mesmerized by Amy Bucher’s presentations on digital health and behavior change design. She makes the topic approachable bringing academic theory to life through relevant examples and actionable insights. This book proves to be an essential guide for digital health innovation, moving beyond shiny objects to define what will truly deliver engagement and improved outcomes.

—Amy Heymans, co-founder and Chief Experience Officer of Mad*Pow

A book is only as good as the behavior it changes, and in this practical guide, Bucher focuses on combining rigorous application with an approachable voice. The product of over a decade of experience across a variety of domains, Engaged is a unique contribution that is well worth reading for anyone who wants to create change in the world, particularly in a digital medium.

—Matt Wallaert, author of Start at the End: How to Build Products That Create Change

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – A Kind of Magic: Psychology and Design Belong Together
Chapter 2 – Pictures of Success: Measurement and Monitoring
Chapter 3 – It’s My Life: Making Meaningful Choices
Chapter 4 – Weapons of Choice: Make Decisions Easier
Chapter 5 – Something in the Way: Diagnosing Ability Blockers
Chapter 6 – Fix You: Solving Ability Blockers
Chapter 7 – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Designing for Growth
Chapter 8 – Come Together: Design for Connection
Chapter 9 – Mr. Roboto: Connecting with Technology
Chapter 10 – A Matter of Trust: Design Users Can Believe In
Chapter 11 – Someday Never Comes: Design for the Future Self
Chapter 12 – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now: Go Forth and Engage




These common questions and their short answers are taken from Amy Bucher’s book Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change. You can find longer answers to each in your copy of the book, either printed or digital version.

  1. I’ve got a background in behavior science, but no talent for visual design. Can I do behavior change design?
    Absolutely. I was a total amateur at all of the things I thought were design before I started working in the field (and am still not very good at many of them). My strengths are research, strategy, and evaluation, so I partner with people who bring the visual and interaction design and application development chops. I have colleagues who have stronger design skills and less research experience, so they team up accordingly. It’s all about building a team that can complement each other. Chapter 12 offers tips for bringing behavior change into your work, regardless of your background.
  2. Is behavior change design actually necessary?
    If I didn’t think behavior change design was important, then there’d have to be something deeply wrong with me to have spent this much time and effort writing a book about it. Behavior change design helps make products more engaging, which means more people want to use them. That’s good for business. And if your product is actually trying to change people’s behavior, which is true of most products in indus- tries like health, education, and sustainability, then behavior change design will hugely increase the odds it works. Learn more about how to measure the effects of behavior change design in Chapter 2.
  3. What role does social media play in behavior change design?
    Social support can play an important role in helping people change their behavior, and social media can deliver that support in a scalable way. But like any tool, social media must be used thoughtfully to produce the best results. Chapters 8 and 9 cover how to facilitate social support within behavior change design, both with and without connecting people directly to each other.
  4. This book is mostly about motivation psychology. Are there other types of psychology that designers should learn?
    Yes! Cognitive psychology is full of useful information for design- ers, especially visual and interaction designers and anyone creating content. This information includes how people perceive information and can guide decisions about how to present and format the flow of your product. Behavioral economics, which is psychology-adjacent, is what a lot of people think of when they think of behavior change. It’s worth really understanding what behavioral economics is and is not.
    Beyond that, read widely and often. Many of the topics that get covered in pop psychology don’t fit neatly within a particular theory, but are helpful in thinking about designing for behavior change. See Chapter 12 for more suggestions on continuing your behavior change design education.
  5. Can I use behavior change design for evil?
    Sure, but I don’t condone it, and it will probably come back to bite you when people realize what’s happening and stop trusting you. Play the long game and use your behavior change design skills for good. Learn about how to build and maintain user trust in Chapter 10, and get tips from experts on ethical design practices in Chapters 6 and 10.


Chapter 3, It’s My Life: Making Meaningful Choices, from PeopleScience

Chapter 4: Weapon of Choice: Make Decisions Easier, from UXmatters

Chapter 9, Mr. Roboto: Connecting with Technology, from A List Apart