In a digital world, firms have to find a way to balance user needs and behaviors with the company’s goals.  Ultimately, users are substantially in control of their journey. However, we can utilize UX techniques and frameworks to create persuasive customer experiences to encourage conversions that mutually benefit the user and the firm.

The Fogg Behavior Model

One framework that explains human behavior is the Fogg Behavior Model.

The Fogg Behavior Model (FBM) shows that in order for an action to be taken, there needs to be three elements that converge: motivation, ability, and a 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 cando this now
  • Motivation = You wantto do this now

This model applied to UX can help explain user behavior and interaction. If a user is not taking an action, one of these elements is missing. Each of these elements can be amplified with UX principles to create a user experience that persuades customers through the flow we, as a firm, aim for.

Understanding Motivation Through User Research

Understanding user motivation will help UX designers build a product that allows users to reach their goals; at the end of the day, we want to ensure we are building the right thing that is desired by the end-user. ‘Motivation’ is the least controllable element by the firm, as this heavily relies on the customer’s intent in performing an action or task. However, it is the firm’s role to understand user motivation, which can be accomplished through user research.

It is important to remember that what users say and do are often 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. Combine this with surveys and stakeholder interviews to understand what types of goals users are attempting to accomplish and how the firm can play a role in that through their website. Having research to understand how users are motivated and what they are motivated to accomplish will help us create a more viable website.

Ability: Creating a Usable Website

‘Ability’ can be translated into the usability of the website. As UX practitioners, we need to be able to create an experience that enables users to complete their desired goals. This involves eliminating friction, reducing unnecessary steps, and ensuring that all other UX best practices are applied to help 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 goals without abandoning the site.

Prompting Users with Copy and UX Strategy

‘Prompts’ are the most firm-controlled piece of the formula. When building a website, we have the ability to prompt users to click CTAs, visit pages, and draw attention to specific pieces of information through strategic UX design and content.

The information architecture and content used across a website can help push users through their journey. The copy we utilize on CTAs can determine if a user will feel prompted to click the button or not. For example, a CTA with ‘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, persuading them to take action.

The location of the prompt is equally as important. We can strategically place CTAs after important pieces of information or at relevant points of the decision-making process to encourage action. When we understand the customer journey, we can understand the content that can reach the user in the right place at the right time. Personalization and testing strategies may be helpful in understanding what prompts are most effective for users considering colors, size, location, and copy.

The Framework Applied

How do these elements work together to create a desirable and persuasive user experience? Let’s look at an example with the framework applied.

Imagine a user visits an e-commerce 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. As a company, we can conduct user research to understand what features customers are looking for during their online shopping experience, how users flow through the information on the website, and who the users are visiting our e-commerce website to know how to speak to them. Utilizing UX best practices, we want to ensure the user has the ability to reach their goal 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 have a streamlined checkout process. As users go through their shopping experience, we should be delivering prompts to help them through their journey. Prompts such as “See similar styles” or “You are only $5 away from free shipping” encourage users towards their goals while also helping the firm push them towards converting.


In UX, we must understand user behavior to build a successful website. We may not be able to force users to convert or take the action the firm wants but understanding user interaction with the Fogg Behavior Model helps provide a way forward. Figuring out how to combine all the components of UX – information architecture, customer journeys, user flow, and usability practices – to persuade users into the flow we want to push them through will ultimately lead to conversions for the firm.