84 cognitive biases that will help you design better-converting products

This one is probably my longest post in my 15 years of blogging, and the result of occasional writing I've been doing in the past few months.

Cognitive biases are systematic errors in our thinking process that affect our decisions making.

As humans, we don’t always see things as they really are, or remember things as they really were. As a result, we create our own subjective social reality that affects our judgment.

As product people, we should to take advantage of these biases to create better products.

Not in a bad way of course, but in a way that will allow us to get a fair chance to prove that our products are worthy. Products can exploit common cognitive biases to establish trust with the users, improve conversion rates, increase their users’ engagement level, and as a result, improve retention rates.

Because at the end of the day, it’s all in the packaging, and being 100% accurate and concise is simply not enough to persuade the users to give the product a chance or to try out its’ new features.

Users need more than that, and that’s exactly where cognitive biases can (and should) be used.

Now, I have to warn you: this list is freaking long; it includes over 80 different biases - from biases we need to avoid, to biases we can leverage to improve our product's onboarding process, increase conversion rates, improve retention and generate more revenue.

Luckily for you, I created over 40 visual UI/UX examples that will make it easier for you to skim through the list. Oh no, don't thank me! I'm just doing my job...

Who should read this list? 

I believe product managers, marketing managers, and entrepreneurs will find this list extremely useful and relevant, but in fact, anyone who deals with software development might find something to relate to in this list. It helps everyone involved, understand the psychology behind users behavior and how to use it to build better products.

Oh, and just to be clear, I did not invent these biases, I just collected them whenever I needed them in my work, and if you happen to disagree with some of them or think they don’t work, that’s probably because you are unique (or you may suffer from the Dunning-Kruger Effect as described below 😉).

OK, that turned out to be a pretty long opening. Let's begin:

Superficial, are we?

The way the information is presented has a big impact on the way we think and make decisions.
Sure, we say we are not superficial, but when it comes to products, the packaging plays a significant role.

1. Streetlight Effect

We tend to search for things where it's easiest to look.
As the joke says: A policeman sees a drunk man searching for his wallet under a streetlight and asks: "is this where you lost it?", and the drunk replies, "no, I lost it in the park, but this is where the light is".
Product tip: Whatever answers you are looking for: product, marketing, user satisfaction or anything else - dig deeper. Many answers are not where "the light" is, and analyzing data is often much harder than just collecting it.

2. Perceived Value Bias

We perceive the value of a product or service based on how it looks or how it’s served.
As they say: it’s all in the packaging!
Product tip: Design is more important for the success of your product than you think. 
That extra space, wrong border color, and misaligned text - they all impact your conversion rates.
Make your UI design a priority.
Perceived Value Bias - we perceive the value of a product or service based on how they look
Small UI corrections make a big impact

3. Picture Superiority Effect

Pictures and images are more likely to be remembered than (a thousand) words.
UI tip: Always include images in your content. If you sell products or services - great visuals will improve your conversion rates.

4. Von Restorff Effect (Isolation Effect)

When multiple homogeneous objects are presented together, the object that differs from the rest is more likely to be remembered.
Design tip: Make sure the CTA button stands out using a different style, size, color, and position.

Von Restorff Effect - Make sure your CTA button stands out
Make sure your CTA buttons stand out

More conservative than we think

We say we are innovative, we like to try new technologies, but when it comes to core instincts and quick decision making - we aim to minimize risks and stick with the things we're already familiar with.

5. Status Quo Bias

We tend to prefer a status quo over a change.
The current baseline is taken as a reference point, and any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss.

6. Endowment Effect

Once we own something, we value it higher than we did before we owned it.
As a result, we are more likely to retain an object we own than to acquire that same object if we don’t own it.
Product tip: Free trials are the most common use of the endowment effect.
Once users commit to a certain product and invest time in it (i.e. build their profile etc.) it’s harder for them to let go and not upgrade their plan when the trial ends.
Onboarding tip: Find ways for people to play with your product before signing up.
Retention tip: When a customer leaves you, provide examples of all the good things they’ll lose.

7. IKEA Effect

We place a disproportionately high value on products we created (or worked hard for).
Product tip: let your users do something as part of the onboarding process (not too hard, but rewarding) so they can connect with your product.

8. Mere-Exposure Effect (Familiarity Principle)

We tend to develop a preference for things we are familiar with.
UI tip: Stick with familiar UI concepts, behavior, terms, signs and icons.
Be consistent across your marketing materials, website and product to optimize the funnel.
UX Writing tip: Align with the industry jargon. Make sure your users feel comfortable.

Mere-Exposure Effect - Stick with the UI standards
Stick with the standards 

9. Functional Fixedness

We tend to use objects in the traditional way they were used.
Usability tip: When your product challenges an existing usage tradition - it may cause some usability challenges. Keep them in mind and try to solve them in advance.

10. Law of Instrument (Maslow's Hammer)

We tend to over-rely on tools we are familiar with, even in the presence of much better options.
As they say: “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail

To a man with a hammer - everything looks like a nail


Don’t call me a loser

We hate losing more than we like winning. The right message (at the right timing) might turn on this aversion and push us to make a biased decision.

11. Loss Aversion

We prefer not to lose $100 than to win $100 because the value of losing something is higher than the value of getting it (which is pretty consistent with the Endowment effect described above).

UX Writing tip: Use negative terms to express the potential loss: “stop wasting money”.
Product tip: Limit your special deals (inside and outside your product) to create a sense of urgency: “this exclusive deal ends in x hours”.

Loss Aversion - help your users avoid losses
Help your users avoid losses

12. Zero-Risk Bias:

We love certainty even if it's counterproductive.
Product tip: offer money-back guarantee and risk-free trials to reduce the level of risks and make your customers feel secure.

Zero-Risk Bias - Make sure all possible concerns are well addressed
Make sure all possible concerns are addressed

13. Neglect of Probability

When we are under pressure, we fail to think of the probability of risks to happen.
As a result, minor risks might get overrated or neglected.
Product rule: during a conversion funnel - smallest uncertainties might cause the user to mistrust your product and stop. Make sure all details are clear and presented upfront.
Especially the ones that involve money such as the total cost, discounts (if exists), additional costs.
Neglect of Probability - Make sure to remove uncertainties in your product
Clear uncertainties proactively

Check out the YOUR most popular posts in here: 
The best of the Mobile Spoon 

14. Scarcity Effect

We place a higher value on an object that is scarce and a lower value on an object that is highly available.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) makes us more vulnerable to temptation and impulse and pushes us to make rush decisions.
Product tip: decorate your products and services with “limited time offers”, “limited quantity”, etc
Create the impression that many others are watching this item “right now!” and about to grab the last remaining items any minute.

Creating scarcity effect in UI

Or, as Booking.com would probably use it:

Scarcity Effect - the drastic approach (as can be seen in well-known hotel booking apps

15. The Simulation Heuristic

We determine the likelihood of an event to happen based on how easy it is to picture the event mentally. As a result, "near misses" are more disappointing than other failures.
Product tip: Send a “You’re almost there!” email to users that almost completed an important action in your product, but eventually didn’t. Let them know they are very close, and that the opportunity is still waiting for them.

[Read: Is 'the fold' still a thing in today’s scrolling and skimming culture?]

Disproportionately emotional

We try to make rational decisions, but sometimes our emotions are just stronger than we think.

16. Negativity Bias

We give more weight to bad experiences than to good ones.
1 Negative Emotion = 3 x Positive Emotion
Negativity Bias: 1 negative emotion equals 3 positive ones

Product/marketing tip: Illustrate your product value by the negative experience it resolves.
If you hope your story to make an impact or even go viral - try emotionally negative content.
Negativity Bias - Illustrate your product value by the negative experience it resolves.
Illustrate the value of your product by emphasizing the negative experience it resolves 

17. Base Rate Fallacy (Base Rate Neglect)

We tend to ignore general information and focus on specific cases.
How to use: don’t just share cold information about your product. Instead, show testimonials, use cases, from people or companies others can relate with.
Work-related tip: If you want to be more convincing - blend your quantified data with some individual stories. Use quantified data to support your opinion rationally. The specific examples will convey your message emotionally.
If you want to be more convincing - blend your quantified data with some individual stories. Use quantified data to support your opinion rationally. The specific examples will convey your message emotionally.

18. Identifiable Victim Effect

We tend to empathize more with a specific individual than with a large anonymous group.
How to use it: When you are telling the story of your product, use personal stories of individuals instead of generic statements.
Identifiable Victim Effect - Use personal stories of individuals instead of generic statements.
Use personal stories instead of generic statements

19. Likability Effect

We like people who like the same things we do.
As an example, if you were to tell me you’re a Transformers fan - I would immediately count you as a friend.
Marketing tip: Show the strengths of your product by using testimonials of customers who faced similar issues as other potential customers.
Make sure to use the authentic language customers are using - say it in their own words.

20. The Focusing Effect

We attribute too much weight to events of the past and translate them into future expectations.

21. Impact Bias

We tend to overestimate the length or the intensity of future emotional states.
It’s the “I’ll never get over her!” bias.
Possible usage: Paint a picture of the users without your product or service, and later, introduce your product with how it will solve those pains.

[Read: 40 rules for designing and writing text in mobile apps]

Easily convinced

The art of persuasion! Here are some (cheap?) tricks to help you better convey your message.

22. Anchoring Effect:

We tend to rely too heavily on the first piece of information presented to us (the “anchor”) to make subsequent decisions.
How to use it: The oldest trick in the book: you add a high price as the anchor and then cross it out and set a much lower price next to it.
Looking at how Steve Jobs used it with the iPad launch I must ask: did it really work?

Anchoring Effect - Performed by Apple's Steve Jobs during the iPad launch
Steve Jobs demonstrating the Anchoring Effect

Nevertheless, here’s my take on the Anchoring Effect: 
Anchoring Effect Example - The Mobile Spoon
Anchoring Effect in product pricing

23. Hyperbolic Discounting

We prefer an immediate payoff (even if it’s small) rather than a larger-later reward.
Tip: offer a small discount (or free shipment) for immediate purchase, rather than a larger discount for future purchases.

Hyperbolic Discounting - Offer small discounts for an immediate purchase
Offer small discounts for an immediate purchase 

24. Social Proof

If people like us are using it - it must be good!
How to use it: Social proof is a great way to build trust. Here are a few examples that can be used in your website, App Store product page:
  1. Well known customer logos
  2. Well known partner logos
  3. Testimonials and authentic recommendations by customers (from the target audience)
  4. Counters (number of customers, deals, sessions - whatever works)
  5. Media mentions and quotes (“as seen on…”)
  6. Awards by well-known organizations (i.e. hottest startup by WIRED)
  7. Certifications
  8. Links to case studies with actual numbers
Social Proof - Build trust using counters and customer logos

Don’t say: “we are awesome because… “, and instead, let others testify:

Social Proof - Don’t say “We are awesome because…” and instead, let others testify

25. Authority Bias 

We attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure and be more influenced by that opinion (even if the subject is unrelated to the person’s authority).
How to use: Build your authority by promoting your famous references:
  1. Contact influencers and give them free access to your product or service
  2. Highlight famous customers or brands
  3. Testimonials by famous people and celebrities
  4. Use authority figures in your visuals and statements (i.e. doctors, professors, etc.)

Authority Bias - Promote your strongest references

26. Bandwagon Effect (Herd Behavior)

We often do things only because “everyone is doing it!” (Ketogenic diet anyone?).
We change our opinions, according to the number of people thinking the same way.
Marketing tip: convince that everyone is using your product and more people will indeed use it.

Bandwagon Effect - Convince that others are using it

And here’s another example for the using the Bandwagon Effect in your product:

Bandwagon Effect - The “Most Popular” Example
The “Most Popular” example 

27. Belonging Bias

We are all social creatures and in order to feel part of a group we often act like other members in that group. If all the software developers are using Slack - you probably should too, right?
Copy tip: Use counters such as the number of customers, sessions, services provided, to convince the audience that your product is a standard.

28. In-group Bias

Once we are part of a group, we almost “automatically” favor members in our group over members in other groups.
In-group favoritism also means we help members of our group more often than those in other groups.

In-group Bias

29. Not-Invented-Here Syndrome

We avoid using (or buying) already existing products, because of their external origins, and prefer to invent similar products internally.
Example: When your engineering team prefers to develop something from scratch instead of using an existing product.
Management tip: Tackle this phenomenon by complimenting your team. Their expertise is needed to develop the core of the product and their precious time cannot be “wasted” on side modules, or services that are already invented by others.

[Read: 11 lessons learned while trying to become a data-driven company]

30. Belief Bias

We are more likely to accept an argument that supports a conclusion that aligns with our prior knowledge while rejecting counter-arguments to the conclusion.
Writing tip: When talking about the benefits of your product - don’t exaggerate.
If it’s too good to be true - people will not believe it.

31. Foot-in-the-door Technique

A small agreement creates a bond between us and the requester and potentially makes it easier for us to agree on bigger agreements.
Subscription tip: Give your users a free trial to hook them up with something small.
Onboarding UX tip: Don’t overwhelm the user with over-complicated onboarding tasks.
Break it into small/easy chunks to achieve small wins and keep the user happy and engaged.

Foot-in-the-door Technique - Make onboarding easy by creating “small wins"
Achieve small wins during the onboarding process 

32. Variable Reward

Our joy from getting rewards increases when the rewards are unexpected.
Product tip: Hook your users with daily offers, free bonuses, reputation points, prizes and more. 
The more “action” you create on a daily basis - the more your users will feel connected and hooked to the product.

Variable Reward - Hook your users with daily offers, free bonuses, reputation points, prizes and more.
Hook your users with daily offers, free bonuses, reputation points, prizes and more 

Check out the YOUR most popular posts in here: 
The best of the Mobile Spoon 

Not as rational as we think

Make rational decisions is not as easy as it seems.

33. The Gambler's Fallacy

We mistakenly believe that if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future.
Work-related tip: Stick with facts. Less intuition, more numbers.

34. Confirmation Bias:

We seek and favorite information that confirms our initial belief and preconception.
Question: Did you ever manipulated your KPI reports, again and again, switching from weeks to months, from months to quarters, until finding the conclusion you were looking for?

35. Disconfirmation Bias

We tend to dismiss evidence that refutes our beliefs.
Question: Did you ever like a candidate (during a job interview) so much that you ignored some warning signs?

[Read: 5 product management lessons I've learned when moving from B2B to B2C]

36. Framing Effect

Our decision-making processes are not always as rational as we think and we are influenced by the way the information is presented (positive vs negative frames).
Product tip: In most cases, positive frames (i.e. glass is half full) convert better.

Framing Effect - Try to present the full half of the cup for better conversion
A positive frame in action 

37. Context Effect

Our perception of things is influenced by the context in which they are presented or happening.
In visual design, a color or a size of an object can be perceived differently depending on where and how they are presented.

Context Effect in design

38. Selective Perception

Our perception of things is highly influenced by our expectations.
Product & marketing tip: Your product’s conversion funnel doesn’t begin when the user boards, it begins when the user sees your ad for the first time.
Misalignment between the marketing message and what the product delivers will disappoint your users and result in poor conversion rates.
Aligning the messages across all media (and stages of the funnel) will bring users with the right expectations and as a result - improve conversion rates.

39. Hot-hand Fallacy

A fallacious belief that a person who has experienced success has a greater chance of further success in additional attempts.
How to use: Emphasize a list of successes stories to build your strong brand.

Hot Hand Fallacy - If Ashton Kutcher invested in this startup it must be good, right?
If Ashton Kutcher invested in this startup it must be good, right? 

40. Anticipation:

Our brain is wired to anticipate positive experiences. Anticipation contributes to our happiness.
Examples: Waiting a few months for a big vacation contributes to the overall experience. Buying early tickets to Avengers: Endgame makes us all excited and happy.
Product tip: Create anticipation for your new product (or release) by announcing it ahead of time. Create a positive buzz, something to look forward to, ensuring your audience will remain excited.

41. Information Bias

We seek information even when it cannot affect our action.
Product tip: When presenting products or services (in your website or within your product itself) - make sure to include photos a detailed description. The more information you can pile on to product description, the greater the assurance your users will get.

Not as thorough as we say we are

Sure, we did the research before making the decisions, we just forgot a few things along the way, that's all... 

42. Availability Heuristic (Availability Bias)

We think that things that jump quickly to mind are more common and important than the things that do not easily come to mind. As a result, what’s recent, frequent, extreme, remembered, is more influential than the majority of information.
UI tip: make your design rememberable by creating something unique that stands out (without compromising on consistency and familiarity).

Availability Heuristic (Availability Bias)

43. Attentional Bias

When examining all possible outcomes - we tend to focus on a few that seem rational and familiar and ignore all others.
Question: Did you ever release a feature thinking that it would lead to a certain outcome only to discover it caused a side effect you failed to anticipate?

Attentional Bias

44. Fluency Heuristic

We give higher value to things that are processed faster, fluently, and smoothly.
Sometimes illogical argument, if communicated well (by someone who has authority and experience presenting things) might win.

Fluency heuristic

A related term here is “Mental Shortcuts” - people frequently use heuristics to make decisions; you should use them to your advantage in your design.
Product tips:
  1. Make things easy for your users (fast, simple and easy navigation)
  2. Make content easily scannable (images, readable fonts)
  3. Create “mental shortcuts” that will hook your users and promote the preferred behavior.
  4. Provide meaningful defaults, because users assume you have their best interests in mind and will select the default options whenever possible.
  5. Add a powerful cross-product search to ease the finding of specific topics.
Here are 2 examples for making things easier for the user, in order to promote the preferred behavior for the business.

Users expect products to provide ready-to-use defaults
Users expect products to provide ready-to-use defaults
Fluency Heuristic in product design - providing easy shortcuts for recent activity
Provide simple shortcuts for recent activities 

Work-related tip: Always do your homework: collect enough data, write down your points, think about how to present your points, invest in the design of things.

45. The Google Effect (AKA: Digital Amnesia)

We forget information that can be easily found online.
Question: Do you remember the phone number of your best friend or kid?

Not as smart either…

I mean, of course we are! But if you want your product to succeed, show how George Clooney uses it and make it sound like rhyme…

46. Halo Effect

The "halo effect" is when one quality of a person (or thing) is used to make an overall judgment of that person or thing. In other words, our initial impression of a person, product, company or brand affects our interpretation of its character in its entirety. For example, a tall or good-looking person will be perceived as being intelligent and trustworthy, and so on…
How to use: take advantage of this heuristic by using authoritative photos and visuals that build trust.

47. Decoy Effect

Consumers will tend to have a specific change in preference between two options when a third, asymmetrically dominating option is added.
How to use: define your alternatives wisely, and regardless of the number of options you plan to have - make sure they end up being 3.

48. The Humor Effect

We remember information better when that information is perceived as funny or humorous.
This can help in conversion rates of products and in business in general.
How NOT to use it: don’t use humor in situations where the user might be frustrated.
For instance, if your app is not compatible with an old device - don’t say it in a funny way because the user is probably too frustrated at that point to laugh.

49. Rhyme-as-Reason Effect

If you thought the halo effect is lame - wait till you read this one:
Rhyming statements are perceived as more truthful.
Or as they say: “What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals”.

How to use: don’t.

50. Illusory Truth Effect

The more something is repeated, the more we believe it.
How to use: Repeat your message (key benefit, main differentiator) again and again: in your ads, website, App Store page, during onboarding, newsletters, etc.

51. The Availability Cascade

Repeat something long enough and it’ll become true.
How to use: create a catchy slogan and make sure to repeat it enough to make it stick.

Oh, and if by any chance this slogan ends with a rhyme - it might work even better.

Intelligent people are easily tricked as well

52. The False Consensus Bias

We tend to overestimate how much other people are like us and share our opinions, beliefs, preferences, values, and habits, and as a result - think the same way as we do.
Question: Without getting into politics (or specific countries), were you recently surprised by your country’s election results?

53. Curse of Knowledge

When we are experts in a certain field, we often fail to realize the people we talk to don’t have the background we assume they have in this field.
UI/UX tip: Think about the majority of your users: they are probably less technical than you think and less familiar with the things you are well familiar with.

Curse of knowledge in UI error messages

54. Projection Bias (Empathy Gap)

We assume that our current tastes and preferences to things will remain the same over time.
We are not able to place ourselves in the emotional state of our future selves, and thus make future commitments that suit our current state.

55. The Forer (or Barnum) Effect

We tend to give high accuracy ratings to positive personality and value descriptions that we believe are written ‘just for us’, when they are typically vague and general enough to apply to anybody.
How to use it: In UX Writing - approach your users/visitors directly using words such as: ‘you’, ‘your’.

56. Restraint Bias

We have the tendency to overestimate our ability to show restraint in the face of temptation or addiction.
How to use: We all think clickbait titles are lame, but we all fall for them, don’t we?

Restraint Bias - We all think clickbait titles are lame, but we all fall for them, don’t we?
Clickbait titles are lame, but we all fall for them...

57. Optimism Bias

We often to overestimate the odds of our own success compared to other people's.
Product tip: Make sure your product doesn’t hide any unpleasant surprises that might break the optimism bias (such as extra costs, possible delays, etc.)
Work-related tip: When planning, force yourself to be pessimistic:
  1. If you believe 60% of your downloads will convert into actual users - assume 50% in your calculations.
  2. If you believe a new user will cost $4, round it up to $5.
  3. If your business works badly during winters - plan for long winters.
  4. If your plan includes resource availability - didn’t be over-optimistic about their capacity and performance.
A plan that is conservative and still demonstrates success, is much better than an over-pessimistic one.

Think optimistically.
Plan pessimistically.
Execute uncompromisingly.

58. Planning Fallacy

We tend to underestimate the time needed to complete a task. It’s one of the reasons why plans often break and projects get delayed. Breaking large tasks into smaller pieces helps to deal with this phenomena.
Work tip: multiply your initial estimations in 2, no, actually make it 3.
Do it not because you’re lazy, but because your estimations are probably wrong…

59. Parkinson's Law of Triviality

We tend to waste too much time on trivial topics and leave too little time to the important stuff.
Work tip: This one happens a lot in meetings: the first 1-2 items take longer than needed, not leaving enough time for the rest of the items.
A timed agenda can help fix this annoying phenomenon.

[Read: How to maintain your product momentum when you’re out of development budget]

60. Dunning–Kruger Effect

We are unable to recognize our lack of ability.
“Our inability to recognize our lack of ability to recognize our inability. “
Career tip: When you join a new team or a new company, remember that there are many things you don’t know, and many things you don’t even know you don’t know…
Start low, get familiar with the people involved. Talk less and observe more.
Keep a low profile until you are no longer a novice.

61. Insensitivity to Sample Size

We often ignore the sample size and jump to conclusions even though the sample size is not enough statistically.
Product management tip: Talking to customers is important, but don’t base your product assumptions on a few interviews. Work with big numbers and base your product decisions on real data rather than assumptions.
Illusion of Control
We tend to overestimate our degree of influence over external events.

Double or nothing!

Weirdly enough, when we realize we’re about to lose, and maybe because we hate losing so much - we tend to invest more on the failing option.

62. Choice-Supportive Bias (Post-Purchase Rationalization)

Once a decision is made, we tend to praise the option we selected and demote the other options.
Product/UX hack: Whenever a user goes through a significant step in the conversion funnel - show an affirming message, praise them, and congratulate them for achieving this step.
Virality tip: A great timing to ask a user to share the product (or add a review) is right after the user makes a decision to purchase that leads to a successful transaction. This moment combines a successful experience with the choice-supportive bias.

Choice-Supportive Bias (Post-Purchase Rationalization)
Praise your users and congratulate them for achieving significant steps 

63. The Sunk Cost Fallacy

The more we invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.
As a result, we often continue with a failing course of action, only because of the time, money or effort that we’ve already invested in it in the past.

Onboarding tip: Make it easy for your users to start with a small commitment which is fun and engaging. This will pave the way for bigger commitments later on.
Life tip: When you feel you’re about to go “all in” on something - take a break (few minutes, few hours, or even sleep on it) - you’ll see things differently when you are back.

64. Irrational Escalation (Escalation of Commitment)

We continue rationalizing a previous decision we made by repeating it (or investing even more in it), and by doing so, prove that our previous decision was correct.
Life tip: Don’t fall in love with your ideas just because you already invested in them. Cut your losses on time.
Product rule: Measure and analyze the performance of every new feature you release. Don’t trust your instincts and always be suspicious about your own decisions.

Irrational Escalation - provide free trials to hook the user through escalation of commitment
Provide free trials to hook the users through escalation of commitment

65. The Ostrich Effect

We deliberately avoid negative information (or feedback that isn't aligned with our hopes), thinking that if we bury our head in the sand - they will disappear.
Question: Have you ever received really bad customer feedback, and thought "It's just one customer, it doesn’t mean anything"?
Product management tip: Work alongside customer support: do it proactively, see what customers are struggling with. There’s a lot to learn from going over user complaints.

66. Disposition Effect

The disposition effect is an anomaly discovered in behavioral finance. It relates to the tendency of investors to sell assets that have increased in value while keeping assets that have dropped in value.

But don’t push it! 

Persuading people might seem easier than expected, but don’t push it though. 
Building trust is a process, and if the users feel something is wrong - they become over defensive, and this is when your battle is lost.

67. Reactance

Reactance occurs when we feel that someone (or something) is trying to constrain our freedom by taking away our choices and limit our alternatives. When it happens, we feel an urge to resist it and do the opposite.
Product tip: be careful when you “argue” with a user about his selected choice.
Nudges must be gentle and elegant, and must never harm the user’s confidence.

68. Single Option Aversion

We are unwilling to choose an option (regardless of how attractive it is) when there are no other competing options.
Conversion tip: Without creating too many options - set 3 options so your customers will have alternatives, without becoming confused.

69. Analysis Paralysis (Choice Overload)

This bias rhymes, which means it’s probably true:
When too many options are presented, our brain shuts down and we are having a hard time choosing.
Think about overloaded restaurant menus and how overwhelming (and not fun!) they can get.
Product rule: Too many options = poor conversion rate.

Analysis Paralysis - Too many options lead to poor conversion rate
Too many options = poor conversion rate

70. Ambiguity Effect

We tend to avoid the unknown and do not select options that are missing information or clarity.
Minimize ambiguity by adding reassuring details and your conversion rates will improve.
Product tip: if you sell products - invest in the description, photos, price and delivery options.
UI hack: CTA buttons should include informative labels next to them, designed to clear possible uncertainties.

Ambiguity Effect - Clarity is key for improving conversion rates
Clarity is key for improving conversion rates

71. Risk Compensation

We become more careful where we sense greater risk and less careful when we feel more protected.
Product tip: Workflows should be designed to minimize friction.

72. Peltzman Effect

We are more likely to act in a risky way when we know all security measures have been taken.
UI tip: Let your users feel as safe as possible with your product - let them gain confidence and trust, especially before making a purchase or singing-up.

73. Backfire Effect

We can’t change people’s beliefs that easily: evidence and argumentation in opposite to an entrenched belief will not help and will only strengthen their position.
Work-related tip: win people’s behavior through emotional arguments (look around you! There’s a list of relevant techniques right here!) and don’t try to change their beliefs.

Some more mind tricks before we wrap

74. The Frequency Illusion (Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon)

We see new information, names, ideas or patterns 'everywhere' soon after they're first brought to our attention. For instance, if someone is thinking of buying a new car, it’s common that he suddenly sees this car everywhere.
Marketing tip: When pushing a campaign - make sure to expose your visitors to the same content in different marketing channels and with retargeting techniques.

75. Placebo Effect

Our behavior, attitude or feelings can change when we are convinced we’ve received something attributable to the change (i.e. a fake treatment).
Marketing tip: Belief and experience create a reality.
These stories your customers tell about your product are how your placebo effect spreads and becomes real to more and more people.

76. Peak-End Rule

We judge an experience based on how we felt at its’ peak and at its’ end, rather than based on the average or the total sum of it.
Product tip: Maintain your competitive advantage and raise your product peak moments by making your best features even better.
Another product tip: Don’t neglect the “after-purchase” experience of your product. Make sure to end the experience with a superb taste.

Peak-End Rule - identify your product peaks and make them even better!

77. Distinction Bias

When comparing options side-by-side, we become hypersensitive to small differences, while in fact, those differences are not so big.
Marketing tip: Show your product advantages next to your competitors so the visitors can notice the differences. Even the small ones.

78. Self-Relevance Effect

We remember events that are related to us much better than events related to others.
Makes sense…

79. Primacy Effect

Items at the beginning and at the end of a list are more easily recalled than items in the middle.
UI tip: if you plan to show a long list of items - make sure the first one is your most important item.

80. Cheerleader Effect (Group Attractiveness)

We think individuals are more attractive when they are in a group but then when we go through each one of them individually - they seem far less attractive.
Marketing tip: Use cases, testimonials, blog posts - make sure to have a few of them before you publish.

Cheerleader Effect (Group Attractiveness)


81. Bias Blind Spot

We notice the impact of biases on the judgment of others, but we fail to see the impact of these same biases on ourselves.

Bias Blind Spot - we all have them

82. Actor-Observer Bias

We tend to attribute others’ undesirable behavior to their (shitty) character, but our undesirable behavior to our circumstances.
Work tip: learn to control this bias and try to understand the other side: it can be external people (i.e. customers, partners) vs. internal people, but can also happen internally: one team vs. another, one role vs. another, etc.

83. Egocentric Bias

We satisfy our ego by thinking we contributed to a group effort much more than we actually did.
“Hey! did you see my last shot-blocker? It gave us the victory!”

84. Observer-Expectancy Effect

Happens when a researcher's cognitive bias causes them to subconsciously influence the participants of an experiment.
Wait… if that’s true… then… who guarantees it didn’t happen in all the researches that led to this list?


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Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
Good post. I absolutely appreciate this site.

Keep writing!
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Brad said…
This is a must, for every marketer out there.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Unknown said…
Long read, but it was so worth it. Thanks for all this nice info!
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Alon said…
This is really a great read!
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Mark said…
This list is incredible!
Please turn it into UX Cards.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
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Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
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Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
I take an issue with some of the microcopy (such as on the loss aversion point) which is borderline unethical and emotionally manipulative in its entirety. For better conversion rates a better approach would be to highlight value rather than make the user feel bad/anxious/stressed.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Really thankful for your work! Well done! I took note of all of it - one by one.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
Some good advice here, but quite a few of these are dark patterns and borderline unethical practices that designers should refrain from using.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
Point 84 can't be true: it doesn't rhyme.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Nelson Bibby said…
Really good reading. Thank you.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Alisha said…
This is so great!
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
Insane post! Love it!!!!! 💚
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Liad said…
Soooooo long but I didn't want it to end!
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
This is, hands down, the best guide on this topic. 👌🏿
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Anonymous said…
I every time spent my half an hour to read this blog's articles every day along with a mug of coffee.
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Unknown said…
This is good article. The longer the better it is awesome
Gil Bouhnick The Mobile Spoon
Maggie said…
This is by far the most amazing guide on this topic.