What is Behavioral Intervention in Digital Health tile graphic

Designing Behavioral Interventions for Better Health

Written by Gretchen DeGlopper, Sr. UX/UI Designer

Behavioral interventions are techniques to help shape thoughts and actions so people may achieve goals and reach desired outcomes. They can be used in many contexts including digital products for health, where they encourage certain behaviors while discouraging others. Interventions that enable people to make choices that lead to good health outcomes will ultimately increase the value of your products.

Imagine you are developing products for managing a chronic condition such as heart disease. A patient undergoing treatment might use a mobile application that supports maintaining an active lifestyle. Through the app, they receive suggestions for physical activities based on their current heart health metrics and personal activity preferences. The clinician tracking the patient’s progress uses a desktop application to provide timely feedback and touchpoints of care. The patient’s caregiver might receive text messages about progress milestones and health appointment reminders to help them stay engaged with the patient’s treatment plan. Each situation is shaped with a behavioral technique that encourages effective behavior.

There are benefits to defining behavioral intervention rather than leaving user behavior to chance. Having a behavioral intervention makes it clear what type of metrics will determine the success of the product or service. Short-term metrics can be simple traditional click data, choosing one option over another, or the number of completed tasks, such as how often a person engages in moderate exercise. Long-term metrics could include biometric data trends or changes in treatment, such as a reduction in medication.

Online healthcare app on smartphone screen. Closeup of male hands touching smartphone screen at table.

Knowing and defining intended user behavior at the beginning of a design project gives product development teams user-centered goals and objectives to focus on throughout design and implementation. Not only will a product designer have a clear direction, but the entire team implementing the product will be aligned with the same outcomes.

This might all sound like a labor-intensive process to implement, but it’s possible to start with the basics and build upon a foundation. In fact, mature product design teams can do this already. It begins with a research and discovery phase where an assessment is made to determine what condition needs to be addressed through behavioral intervention, such as participation in exercise, for example. After a period of exploration, solutions, and product requirements are made in light of the findings. Once everyone’s satisfied with the definitions, a solution is implemented in the product and finally, evaluated with meaningful metrics after it’s put into use.

With the help of behavioral intervention, digital health products can be designed to encourage desired behaviors while discouraging undesirable ones. This helps to improve user engagement, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive business growth. Get started with behavioral interventions today and take user-centered product design to a new level.

Related Posts

Stay in the know

Stay up-to-date on Sunrise Labs' events and thought leadership!