How do you influence your user’s behavior? How do you spark action? People can be persuaded to take certain actions if the right elements are present. Fogg’s Behaviour Model, developed by BJ Fogg of Stanford University, is one school of thought that helps us understand user behaviour and influence them to take the action we want them to. Understanding the inputs, triggers, and roadblocks to completing the action – and knowing how to manipulate them while weighing the user and business needs is what makes for good UX Design.

Here’s the model:


According to the model in order to influence behavior designers need to understand user’s motivations, their ability to complete the task, and the triggers users need.


People have 3 main motivators, each of which have opposing sides. Sensation (pleasure and pain), Anticipation (hope and fear), and Belonging (acceptance and rejection).

For instance, if you’re designing a donation page the motivation could be Anticipation: the user’s sense of hope that they can make a difference.


Designers need to build in the ability for a user to complete their task – it needs to be easy. What what may be easy for you may not be easy for your users. Its key to make a task as simple as it can be and no simpler. Other wise you risk losing functionality or security. Think about the six factors that might affect a users ability to complete. These factors are Time, Money, Physical Effort, Brain Cycles (thinking too hard), Social Deviance (a social cost), and Non-Routine.

Back to the donation example. Let’s say you’re designing the page where a user inputs credit card information. The task needs to be simple enough that they’ll do it but not to simple that the user will lose trust in your page. Regarding ability, it’s easy to just click a button and submit payment – right? If the ‘submit donation’ button is on the left hand side of the page and the ‘cancel’ button is on the right then users may accidentally click cancel instead of submit because of its non-routine placement. If the user needs to re-input all their information, how likely it it they’ll try to donate again?


Lastly, Triggers. A trigger is something that encourages the user to act, and the type to be used depends on the situation. We know them as calls to actions, prompts, cues, etc. The triggers should be related to the motivation.

For a donation the trigger could be an inspirational video about where the donations are going and how they’ll help. This would appeal to the user’s motivation of hope.

In conclusion this model can be used by designers as a guide to identify what is preventing the desired. And how to fix it. While usability testing (or at least some form of user research) should always be conducted, this model can be a good stand-in for when budgetary constraints prevent user feedback. If you’re interested in more the full pdf can be found here.

Happy designing!

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