Action Design: Bringing Together UX, Behavioral, and Data Professionals

Throughout the DC area, there are people developing and studying products that influence user behavior, encouraging them take action.  We're broken into very different camps though, and rarely learn from each other.

The product development and persuasive design folks are doing amazing things in the UX, HCI, and product design fields. Behavioral economics and social psychologists are researching the underlying cognitive mechanisms that drive action (and limit it).   Data scientists are employing the methodological and technical chops to deeply analyze user behavior online (and beyond) and identify successes and failures.  And, NGOs and political advocacy campaigns are doing very similar work to organize and motivate supporters online, but rarely get the opportunity to compare notes with related fields.

This first meetup is to bring together those interested in forming a new community conversation on these topics.   We'll talk about what we know, what we're looking to learn, and how this meetup can best serve our needs and those of the community.

Here's a rough draft of the group's goals (from the "About Us" section of the Meetup):


Action Design is the art and science of designing products that help people take action that improves their lives.

It entails:

  1. Designing the action itself so that it's easy to take,
  2. Structuring the environment to encourage the action, and
  3. Preparing the person to take the action, once and in the future.

Action Design draws heavily upon:

  • Persuasive Design, to develop usable, pleasing products that persuade people to engage with them,
  • Behavioral Economics, to understand the cognitive mechanisms that hinder action,
  • Data Science, to rigorously study the product's true impact on individual action, identify behavioral bottlenecks, and display the results in a digestible, actionable manner.

This meetup is for people in the DC area who are already doing this (under the banner of UX, behavioral econ, data science, and advocacy work), and who want to learn more about these skills.

The meetups will be heavily focused what practitioners are doing and learning in the field, with:

  • An specific product or feature design
  • The action that was being supported
  • What happened (did it work, didn't it, how do we know)
  • What's the underlying theory, so others can learn and generalize


Also, we've setup an online counterpart to the in-person meetups.  It's a FacceBook group, where people doing this work can share ideas, even if you aren't in DC.  It's at



Join or login to comment.

  • David G.

    Great first meetup of a very diverse and passionate group of ux, behavioral, and data pros. First meeting spent setting up structure and brainstorming for future meetups, as well as sharing a few ideas and avenues for communication outside the meetup (see Facebook page, eg.) Definitely plan on attending future meetups; a nice perk is the empanadas!

    December 4, 2012

  • Harlan H.

    This has the potential to be an _extremely_ valuable Meetup for its community. Very impressed with Steve and Justin's efforts so far at getting a great group together! Thanks!

    December 4, 2012

  • Zach Van N.

    Fantastic meetup, thanks Steve and the HelloWallet team!

    December 3, 2012

  • Steve W.

    Hey folks. It looks like Dec 6th is the next best date -- drop me a line if that is better for you.

    November 12, 2012

  • Steve W.

    Thanks Sean. We'll see if there's another date we can move to.

    November 9, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    December 3rd is not a particularly good date. There's another Meetup Group in the same area - Design Thinking DC that has a meetup scheduled that night.

    November 9, 2012

50 went

Our Sponsors

  • HelloWallet

    HelloWallet is Action Design DC's Founding Sponsor

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more

Meetup has allowed me to meet people I wouldn't have met naturally - they're totally different than me.

Allison, started Women's Adventure Travel

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy