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Some new and some classic examples of products that use a BE approach

By Kristen Berman and Kim Fernando

Many times we get asked what products we like from a behavioral standpoint. In 2014 we made a list. Here is a smattering of new and some classic examples of how we’ve seen BE tactics applied to technology.

Medisafe lets you scan bar codes on medications and then sends you reminders to take your meds. They send reminders 3 times for each medication. This may appear forceful, but within the medical domain it is a welcome tactic to inspire patient adherence.

gives you real time updates on actions to take. For example, if the weather calls for rain, it can text you in the morning (before you leave for work) to bring an umbrella. We like this because many times reminders are built, but they are delivered at the wrong time. IfThisThenThat excels at sending updates at the point a user can take action.


Oh the classic! LinkedIn‘s profile progress barometer makes you feel incomplete for not finishing. This is still one of the top examples for how to make users understand the ideal behavior (fill out your profile!) and inspire action by making them feel incomplete until they finish it.


New start up Open Door buys houses from owners as soon as they’re ready to sell. This removes all the friction of the sales process while also providing much needed certainty in a very uncertain market.


While the typical YouTube interface has about 9 (sometimes 12!) options after every video, the YouTube site which is designed specifically for TV has a lot fewer options for the viewer.  They even have a very clear auto play function to eliminate all choices. Of course, this doesn’t always control for the quality of videos. 🙂



While Facebook is known for being great at giving you social proof (telling you what friends are going to what event), they also understand the power of negative social proof.  They don’t show you the number of people who declined to attend your event (negative social proof). This helps other people stay motivated to click, “Going” and avoid getting overwhelmed by the naysayers.

Screenshot 2015-10-01 15.35.42

HelloWallet is a very behaviorally driven app that shows you your wellness score compared to your peers. This uses some social norming to encourage you to take action on your financial wellness.

Hello Wallet 1…and they also let you know how you did. They show you how much you planned to spend and compare it to how you’re actually spending. Unfortunately people usually underestimate these things.  This is the hard to avoid planning fallacy.

HW 2


Oh, and by the way – this is how we use BE tactics at Irrational Labs:

Given research that steers us away from the effectiveness of bonuses, Irrational Labs tried something more creative. We designed a different kind of perk.  It was a prepaid debit card that releases money each month. The catch? Everyone has to spend the money on hedonic / fun purchases vs. utility items.  We also ask everyone to report back to the team on what they bought. This is a better frequency than annual bonuses and ensures we’re increasing happiness.

Another fun hack? We have run events where people prepay $400 for tickets.  The event is actually free – but only if they show up on time.  If they show up on time every day they get a 100% refund. If they don’t show up on time every day, their $400 payment is entered into a lottery for the other attendees to win! The last time we did this everyone who signed up showed up and was on time.

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