In our complex digital world, businesses have to find a way to balance consumer needs and behaviors with their company’s goals.  Ultimately, consumers or website “users” are substantially in control of their journey; however, user experience (UX) strategy and frameworks can be employed to create persuasive customer experiences that encourage conversions and are mutually beneficial to both the consumer and the brand.

The Fogg Behavior Model Can Be Applied to UX to Explain User Behavior

The Fogg Behavior Model (FBM) states that in order for an action to be taken, there must be three elements that converge: motivation, ability, and prompt. It is summed up by the formula

Behavior = Motivation * Ability * Prompt (B = MAP).  These elements can be described further as:

  • Prompt = Do this now
  • Ability = You can do this now
  • Motivation = You want to do this now

Applied to user experience strategy, this model can help explain user behavior and interactions. If a user is not taking an action, one of these elements is missing. Additionally, each element can be further amplified by combining it with UX best practices to create an optimal customer experience that ultimately leads to conversion.

Prompt Users with Copy and User Experience Strategy

‘Prompts’ are the most brand-controlled ingredient in the formula. Website design has the ability to prompt users to click calls-to-action (CTAs), visit pages, and draw attention to specific pieces of information through user experience strategy, design and copy.

The information architecture and content of a website can help navigate users through their purchase journey. The CTA copy can determine if a user will indeed feel prompted to click the button or not. For example, a CTA of ‘Download the Guide’ rather than the catch-all ‘Learn More’ tells users they are getting more from their click than just another page of information, hopefully persuading them to take action.

The location of the prompt is equally important. We can strategically place CTAs after important pieces of information or at relevant points in the decision-making process to encourage action. By understanding the customer’s journey, we can determine how to deliver the right content to the user in the right location and at the right time. Personalization and testing strategies may be helpful in understanding what prompts are most effective, taking into consideration colors, size, location, and written copy.

Ensure Users Have the Ability To Accomplish Tasks On The Website

As UX practitioners, it is our responsibility to create experiences that enable users to accomplish desired results such as product purchase, education, entertainment, communication, among others. This involves eliminating friction, reducing unnecessary steps, and ensuring that all other UX best practices are applied to create a seamless experience. We can enhance users’ ability to accomplish tasks by following the UX Heuristics and Laws of User Psychology when designing a website. The more “usable” a website is, the more users can achieve their intended goals without abandoning the site.

Utilize Research to Understand A User’s Motivation

Understanding a user’s motivation will help UX designers build a product that will satisfy the user’s goal. At the end of the day, companies should focus on building websites that will ultimately appeal to the end-user. ‘Motivation’ is the least controllable element, as this relies heavily on the customer’s intent to perform an action or task. However, it is the brand’s job to understand their user’s motivation, which can be accomplished through user research such as surveys, customer interviews, A/B testing, etc.

It is important to remember that what users say and do are often very different. Using a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods can help us understand both. We can evaluate user behavior through auditing analytics with platforms such as Google Analytics and heatmapping. Combined with surveys and stakeholder interviews, we can also understand what users want to accomplish and how the brand can play a role in that via their website. Research helps to understand what motivates users, which will in turn help create a high-performing website.

The Fogg Behavior Model Creates a Desirable and Persuasive User Experience

Imagine a user visits an ecommerce website with the intent of purchasing a pair of shoes for an upcoming event. The motivation is inherently rooted in the user’s needs and wants for the new item. We can conduct user research to understand what features customers are looking for during their online shopping experience, how users progress through the information on the website, and who the users are, in order to understand the best way to communicate with them. Utilizing UX best practices, we want to ensure the user has the ability to reach their goal or intent of making a purchase. This includes allowing the user to easily find the right size, filter through styles and colors, add products to their cart, and experience a streamlined checkout process. As users flow through their shopping experience, they should receive prompts helping guide them through their journey. Prompts such as “See similar styles” or “You are only $5 away from free shipping” motivate users to accomplish what they set out to do while also encouraging conversions which benefit the brand.

We Must Understand User Behavior In Order To Build A Successful Website

While we may not be able to force conversions, the Fogg Behavior Model is a valuable tool to help understand user behavior and interactions. Once we know how to combine all the key components of UX – information architecture, customer journeys, user flow, and usability practices – to guide users through the desired path, this strategic approach paves the way for increased conversions and better business outcomes.