Design for Engagement - How to Design So People Take Action

Learn how to apply psychology to create engaging products so that people will take the actions you want them to take.
  • Lectures 83
  • Video 5 Hours
  • Skill level all level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion

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Course Description


You'll learn everything you need to know about people, how they think, decide, remember, and what motivates them. You'll learn how to apply psychology to the design of websites, apps, and products so that they are engaging and so people will take the action you want them to take.

About This Course:

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You will learn:

  1. How to use the need to belong to get people to take action
  2. What makes ideas and products go viral
  3. Why online video is so compelling
  4. How people think and make decisions
  5. How much information people can remember
  6. How present information so that people will want more
  7. How fonts and line length affect how people read
  8. Why rewards are not always a good idea to use
  9. How to use the stories people tell themselves about who they are and what they do to get people to take action
  10. Why fear of loss is so powerful a motivator and how to use it
  11. Quizzes throughout the course to test your knowledge
  12. Exercises throughout the course to practice what you are learning

and much, much more!

Click the "Take This Course" button at the top right of this page now and get started right away. You don't want to delay learning how to create engaging products that people WANT to buy and use and that motivate them to action.

What are the requirements?

  • You should have familiarity with websites, apps, and/or technology products.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Over 83 lectures and 4.5 hours of content!
  • Learn the psychology that applies to behavior when people use websites, apps or other technology products
  • Learn how to create a more engaging design using these psychology principles
  • Learn what really motivates people to take action

What is the target audience?

  • User Experience (UX) professionals, web designers and developers, usability professionals, and product managers.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee

Forever yours.
Lifetime access

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion


Section 1: Introduction to the Course
Welcome to the Course! This first lecture gives you an overview of what the course is all about, and how the information will be helpful to you in getting people to take the action you want them to take and do the tasks they want to do at your website, or with your product or app.
A brief description of the course instructor, and her background.
This lecture describes each of the major sections of the course, and the content that each section contains. It's an overview of the whole course.
Section 2: The Need To Belong
This lecture introduces the research and concepts of why the need to belong is such a strong motivator to use in your design in order to encourage people to take a particular action with your website, app, or product. 
We are very influenced by the opinions and actions of others. In this lecture you will learn about the research on social validation and how to apply it to your design.
In this lecture you will learn about how to use the concept of reciprocity to get people to take action at your website or with your app or product. 
This lecture describes some interesting research on reciprocity that might surprise you, and shows you how to use the research results to change the way you might be doing lead generation at your website.
In this lecture you will learn why you might actually want to get people to say "no" so that they will be more compelled to say "yes" later.
This lecture describes the research on trust, and how you can get people to trust your website, product, or app.
In this lecture you will learn how phrasing in terms of nouns rather than verbs can change behavior.
Competition might motivate some people some of the time, but the research shows that it may not always be motivating. In this lecture you will learn about the research on competition and when to use competition in your designs.
What makes ideas or products "go viral"? In this lecture you will learn what the research tells us about why some things go viral and others don't. You will learn what you can do to make your ideas and products spread quickly.
In this lecture we go online to look at case study websites for examples of applying the Need to Belong principles at websites.
Now that you've finished the section on The Need to Belong try your hand at the exercise to practice what you have learned.
The Need To Belong Quiz
10 questions
Section 3: Instincts
Much of our behavior is governed by unconscious instincts. In this lecture you will be introduced to the research on instincts.
In this lecture we explain the interesting research on how people react to choices. Do people want a lot of choices? How many choices should you provide?
In this lecture we cover the research on the Fear of Losing.
The possibility of loss alerts the unconscious. In this lecture you will learn how this applies to design.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in our brains that makes us seek more information. In this lecture you will learn about the design factors that stimulate dopamine.
In this lecture we go online to look at case study examples of how to apply the principles from the Instinct section to actual websites.
It's the end of the Instincts section and it's time for an exercise to practice what you have learned.
Instincts Quiz
6 questions
Section 4: Reading and Vision
In this lecture we'll introduce the section on reading and vision.
You may think that it's your eyes that are doing the seeing, but in this lecture you'll "see" that it's really the brain.
Are all capital letters really harder to read? What does the research say? You'll find out in this lecture.
In this lecture you will learn why headings and labels are important to design.
Have you ever wondered if it makes a difference what font you use? You'll find out in this lecture.
What's better? A short line length of text or a long line length? You'll learn the research on line length in this lecture.

In this lecture you will learn about how to measure the reading level or difficulty of the text you use at a website. NOTE: The website I show in the lesson for a readability calculator is no longer available. I've added an "External Resource" link for a different one you can use which is:

There is a special part of the brain just for processing faces. In this lecture you will learn how this affects your designs.
It's a fancy term for an interesting way your eye works. This lecture explains which color combinations are the worst and why.
In this lecture we take a look at the different kinds of colorblindness and how you need to adjust your color choices during design to make sure that people who are colorblind can use your product.

Not all cultures relate to color in the same way. In this lecture we'll take a look at color and culture.

Note: I've added a link to the color chart I show in the lesson in the External Resources section, as well as a link to the website it is from.

In this lecture we'll look at some interesting research about people's preference for objects with curves.
In this lecture we take a look at different websites to apply the principles from the Reading and Vision Section.
It's the end of the section on Vision and Reading, so here's an exercise for you to do to use what you've learned.
Reading and Vision Quiz
10 questions
Section 5: Cognition and Memory
In this lecture you will learn about two different kinds of thinking, from Daniel Kahneman's book: Thinking Fast and Slow -- System 1 and System 2 thinking
How much information should you give people at one time? In this lecture we look at the idea of progressive disclosure.
In this lecture we dispel the myth that people can remember "7 plus or minus 2" things.
In this lecture we discuss the idea of human factor loads as a way to either provide more challenge or reduce challenge for different situations, such as games and websites.
In this lecture we'll demonstrate some of the limitations of human memory.
How do people know what to click on at a website? Or when something is a button and when it's not. In this lecture you will learn about the concept of Affordance.
In this lecture you will learn about why video is so engaging, and why you should consider it as a format for providing content.
People expect technology to interact with them following the same rules as human-to-human interaction. You will learn about the importance of micro-interactions in design.
In this lecture we look at some examples that show the principles from the Cognition and Memory Section.
Now that we've finished the Cognition and Memory Section it's time to try out what you have learned in an exercise. 
Cognition and Memory Quiz
9 questions
Section 6: Applying Engagement Principles to Your Products
This lecture introduces this section on a process for applying the engagement principles to the re-design of a product, or designing one from scratch.
This lecture describes what you need to know about your target audience in order to be able to choose the best engagement principles.
In this lecture we cover why you need to know what it is your target audience wants to do before you choose engagement principles for your product.
Step 3: What you want your target audience to do -- Target Actions
Step 4: Choosing general principles that apply to almost everyone
In this lecture you will learn about choosing specific principles for your product and situation
In this lecture you will learn how to apply engagement principles to an existing website or product, including a process for evaluating an existing website or product and deciding on engagement changes.
In this lesson you will learn how to apply engagement principles when you are designing a new website or product.
This lecture describes an exercise you can do to practice what you have learned.
Applying Engagement Principles Quiz
7 questions
Section 7: The Power of Stories
The brain processes information best in story format. In this lecture we'll introduce the idea of stories.
In this lecture we describe some of the research on how the brain reacts to stories.
In addition to stories you tell with your product, you can work with the ideas of "self-stories" to get people to take action. 
This lecture describes Timothy Wilson's work on how to encourage lasting behavior change with a technique called story-prompting.
In this lecture you will learn two easy ways to get people to commit to your product or brand online.
In this lecture we look at some examples of websites that use the principles from the Power of Stories Section.
It's the end of the section on The Power of Stories, so it's time for an exercise to practice what you have learned.
The Power of Stories Quiz
5 questions
Section 8: Habits
Most of our behavior is based on habits. This lecture introduces some of the myths and science around habits.
You might be surprised to learn some of the science of how habits are formed in this lecture.
In this lecture you will learn three secrets about creating habits.
In this lecture we look at examples of products that encourage routine use.
Habits Quiz
5 questions
Section 9: Tricks of the Mind
You've heard of visual illusions. We also have "cognitive" illusions. In this lecture we will introduce the tricks our own minds can play on us.
You will learn in this lecture how regret is a powerful motivator of behavior. 
In this lecture you will learn how mood affects behavior and how you can affect someone's mood.
This lecture shows how our brains react to concepts and icons that are concrete rather than abstract.
In this lecture you will learn about the research on whether people value experience or possessions more and how this affects how you should frame your product or service.
How many times do people need to see information before it sinks in? You'll find out in this lecture.
The research on anchoring has significant impact on decisions of how to price your products or services. This lecture explains the research.
In this lecture you will learn how people behave differently when money is mentioned.
In this lecture you will learn how people behave when death is mentioned or implied.
In this lecture we look at examples of websites that illustrate the principles of the Tricks of the Mind Section.
It's the end of the section on Tricks of the Mind, so it's time for an exercise.
Tricks of the Mind Quiz
10 questions
Section 10: The Desire for Mastery
The Desire for Mastery is one of the strongest motivators of human behavior. This lecture introduces the concept.
In this lecture you will learn how autonomy is related to the desire for mastery.
If you can induce a flow state then people will be immersed in your experience. This lecture explains what is involved in a flow state.
In this lecture you will learn how much and what type of feedback to give people as they use your product or website.
Case Study Examples for the Desire of Mastery Section
It's the end of the mastery section, so here is an exercise.
The Desire for Mastery Quiz
7 questions
Section 11: Thank You
You're done with the course! Here's our last lecture.

Instructor Biography

I have a Ph.D. in Psychology and decades of experience as a behavioral scientist, applying psychology to the design of digital products. I'm a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, and educational and government organizations.

A client once referred to me as "The Brain Lady", and it stuck. Probably because I like to teach and consult about brain science.

I'm currently the Founder and Principal of The Team W. I consult, coach, teach, and speak about behavioral science, brain science, psychology, design, innovation, and user experience. I've been lucky enough to travel around the world as a keynote speaker.

I am also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

My clients include Disney, Amazon, The Mayo Clinic, Zappos, the Federal Trade Commission (USA), and the European Commission.

I like to write books, including: 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, How To Get People To Do Stuff, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People, and Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? I blog at my own website and I blog for Psychology Today.

My work over the years has included the design of websites, software, medical devices, TV ads, physical devices, experiences, and physical spaces to make them persuasive, usable and motivating.

I live in Wisconsin, USA, with my husband. My two children are grown and “launched”. When not teaching, speaking, writing, or blogging, I perform in community theatre, sing jazz, read books, and I'm an avid movie watcher.

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    • Graphic design, Webdesign, UI/UX Olia Gozha


    Good complementary course or even I'd rather say summarizing video of the book "100 things every designer should know"

    • (KC) Kevin Porter

    Fantastic Lessons

    This course was very informative, and opened my eyes to a lot of little details that make a huge difference. Susan is easy to understand and makes the material very comprehendible.

    • Bernd Eidenschink

    Smooth jazz like wonderful course

    Facts based, inspiring topics, even for the ones of us doing website consulting on a daily basis. Even if you have a different opinion then and now, you'll gain a lot.

    • Ana Bourceanu

    Informative and thought provoking

    I really enjoyed this course, because I have always wanted to make the link between psychology and UX design, and this course has been another very useful step along the way, lots to take away and re-play in the future, thank you.

    • Sean McCammon

    Some great tips

    I have completed about 3/4 of this course now but had to say that I have got some great insight and tips from what I have learnt. Great course.

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