How do products become ‘sticky’? How do ad campaigns go ‘viral’? What differentiates genuinely successful businesses from those that fail?

The meetup group ‘Design Thinkers‘ has run a series of talks and workshops on persuasive design, in Dublin over the last year. The group, run by Manoj Chawla of Easy Peasy, has been active over the last two years in Dublin and is now running workshops over the coming months.

Irish Tech News got to speak with Manoj before his next meetup to find out more about Persuasive Design.

What is Designing for Persuasion?

Designing for persuasion is about baking in methods to persuade customers into the product. Marketing is designed in from the get-go. It brings together design thinking, behavioural psychology, neuroscience and marketing.

Products in the age of social media need to do more than solve problems. They need to be viral.

It can help people save money, to improve health. It can be aesthetics and ease of use – the iPod was revolutionary when it came out because it was so easy to use, it was beautiful, and it got everyone talking about it.

Persuasive design is leveraging the latest breakthroughs in behaviour psychology – how peoples brains react when they get interested in a product, share something on social media or get ‘hooked’ on a product. Using those insights drive the design of the product.

Why do we need Persuasive Design?


90% of new businesses will fail. One of the key reasons is no market need for their products or services.

Persuasive design forces entrepreneurs to understand the marketplace, their customers, and how to attract them from the start, and to keep customers as customers into the future.

Isn’t this Manipulation?

Like any tool, persuasive design can be used for evil. To purchase things they don’t want, to spend more time on social media, or to take up smoking.

Alternatively, it can be used for good – to persuade people to exercise more, look after their health more. NHS has a ‘Behavioural Insights Team’ to improve public health. Teams in Ireland are even exploring it.

Three Tips for Better Persuasion?


Observe – so often we put up with problems, and don’t even notice them after a while. Great designers are continually observing problems to be solved. Tony Fadell has a great Ted talk on this.

Understand your customer – what are their needs? What do they like? Are they price sensitive? Richard Branson worked on understanding his customers deeply before launching Virgin Airways.

Don’t underestimate aesthetics – think the iPod, umbrellas in Rolls Royce’s. Great UI design will always get people talking.

History of Persuasive Design

Persuasive design came out of Stanford behaviour design lab and worked on by influencers such as BJ Fogg and Jakob Neilson. New York bestsellers Nudge and ‘Influence Marketing’ by Caldini cover aspects of it also. It’s had a long history, and is being used in many organisations, government institutions already.


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