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Become great at behavioral design

Understand what motivates your customers to convert

Online course:
Digital Psychology & Behavioral Design

By Brian Cugelman,

Senior Behaviral Scientist @ Alterspark

Course length: 3h 45min

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Some of the companies that train their teams at CXL:

Learn the essence of behavioral design, while developing a broad perspective on the psychology of online behavior.

By better understanding the broad psychological principles that drive online engagement, this course will help you focus better, make better decisions, and build higher-converting products.

Get a lesson preview

  • Master consumer-focused digital psychology and behavior design.

    Senior Behavior Scientist, Brian Cugelman, will show you his unique approach to designing behavioral change.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

After taking this course, you’ll…

  • Understand many of the key psychology principles used in CRO
  • Make better decisions based on human-insight
  • Build confidence in translating psychological theories into creative content
  • Understand several psychological strategies and design tactics
  • Have a better sense of the emotions that drive human behavior

Kyneret Azizo

Brian is relaxed, funny, super knowledgeable, and he knows how to get his message across. I love that he’s so enthusiastic about the subject.

Josh Kenneth Gunio

This course had depth. I truly learned.

Thomas Shillingford

I got a deeper understanding on the ‘why’ humans have certain behaviours.

Here’s what Brian will teach you…

Students will learn the essentials of behavioral design, and gain a broad perspective on the psychology that drives online behavior.

By better understanding the broad psychological principles that drive online engagement, participants will develop better judgement, make better decisions, and builder higher-converting products.

Course overview

In just 11 sessions, you’ll be able to…

This course takes students through the behavioral design process, covering Dr. Cugelman’s various behavior change models that simplify the vast scientific literature into a few simple models.

Students will learn the core emotional drivers and cognitive processes that explain how users use technology. Students will learn the core psychological strategies, with examples of common design components, to help them connect theory to practice.

Learn how to use psychology and neuroscience to create better conversion experiences.

This course will help you develop your skills in behavioral design, and help develop your niche in applying behavioral design to the digital skills of your choosing.

Rather than following dogmatic industry conventions, this course will teach you the human factors that drive online behavior. You will be empowered to develop strategies and fresh thinking, inspired by a proper understanding of human behavior, rather than dogmatic conventions.

As an introductory course to applied psychology, the course focuses on broad strategies and tactical UI elements, which will help you learn quickly, and better take advantage of everyday psychology design opportunities.

The content is general enough that it applies to many areas of digital practice.

This course is essential for you if …

  • Want to learn the core psychology that is relevant to conversion-focused digital media professionals
  • You work hands-on, where deeper human insight will help you make better and faster decisions
  • You work in any organization where greater conversions will improve your bottom-line

This course is NOT for you if…

  • You are starting out in digital media, and are not yet familiar with the basics in your chosen practice area.
  • You expect to be spoon fed tactical psychology, such as dogmatic rules saying “psychological technique 847 always produces a 5% lift”. This is a course on insight.
  • You are only interested in your specific area, such as only doing design, only doing copy, or only doing analytics. The content cuts across man practice areas.

Designed for anyone with basic knowledge of conversion optimization.

This course is perfect for anyone who has a basic understanding of conversion optimization, UX and design as well as an interest in psychology and neuroscience.

Students should have previously worked on a CRO project or campaign before taking this course.

Brian Cugelman

Senior Behaviral Scientist @ Alterspark

With an extensive career running online projects and studies for industry, non-profit organizations, governments, and the United Nations, Dr. Brian Cugelman has been working as an online behavior change specialist since 1997. In 2006, Brian launched Al

With an extensive career running online projects and studies for industry, non-profit organizations, governments, and the United Nations, Dr. Brian Cugelman has been working as an online behavior change specialist since 1997.

In 2006, Brian launched AlterSpark, with a focus on merging behavioral science with creative design and data science. Over the years, Brian has helped numerous companies and institutions measure and improve their online campaigns for greater understanding and measurable results.

Your full course curriculum

Digital Psychology & Behavioral Design Training

Psychology and media

This lesson shows you what it means to apply psychology to technology.

Topics Covered:

  • Understand applied psychology in down-to-earth terms
  • Know the various ways you can apply psychology to tech
  • How to focus on the bigger-picture in applied psychology

Our approach

You'll learn what makes this course unique, as a conversion focused approach to psychology-inspired design

Topics Covered:

  • Where the content comes from
  • Our approach to behavioral science
  • Overview of the course's key components


We'll cover what really matters in design for behavior change.

Topics Covered:

  • What to focus on in design for behavior change
  • How to contrast superficial versus real metrics
  • How to quickly measure outcomes

Emotional motivators

This lesson covers the emotions that drive shape user behavior, and covers a variety of emotional transition strategies, using the Cugelman Emotion Map.

Topics Covered:

  • Learn how emotions shape user behavior
  • Learn how to use the Cugelman Emotion Map, for broad emotional design strategies
  • How to link design patterns to emotional design strategies

Netflix sign-up emotional design audit

This lesson walks through an example of how NetFlix users emotion design, in its registration process.

Topics Covered:

  • An example of an emotional design used in registration
  • How content is used to target emotional motivators
  • The link between theory and practice

Behavioral media

This lesson explains how people conceptualize virtual space, and digital processes

Topics Covered:

  • How users comprehend virtual spaces
  • What language to use to make processes more intuitive
  • How to describe online processes, so that they are easy to follow

Digital product places

Based on your understanding of how users conceptualize virtual space, we'll discuss conventional navigation systems.

Topics Covered:

  • How to conceptual virtual spaces like real spaces
  • Metaphors for information hierarchy
  • Metaphors for on-page special relations

Digital locators & facilitators

Now that we understand how people conceptualize and navigate in virtual spaces, we'll look at the psychology behind design components that help people navigate technology

Topics Covered:

  • New perspective on navigational systems and process control UI
  • Understand directional cues
  • Gain a behaviorist perspective on CTAs

Behavioral UI

In Behavioral UI series of lessons, we cover most of the psychological design strategies, with many examples.

Topics Covered:

  • Develop a new understanding of branding psychology, and why trust and integrity are at the core of digital influence
  • How users comprehends the world and what motivates people
  • Many other psychological design strategies, covering pressure tactics, social influence, decision making, trust, barrier reduction, and more

Behavioral UI: Description

Learn about description components that help users to understand what they're dealing with.

Behavioral UI: Motivation

Learn about different UI design patterns that are used for motivational processes.

Behavioral UI: Pressure tactic

Learn about pressure tactics and how to use them in UI.

Behavioral UI: Social influence

Learn what is social influence in UI and how to utilize it.

Behavioral UI: Deciding

Learn how to help your audiences to make up their mind.

Behavioral UI: Trust

Learn about trust - one of the core factors in behavior change.

Behavioral UI: Reinforcer

Learn about elements that reinforce user behavior.

Designing processes

This lesson covers different stage-based approaches to influence, and recommends different approaches, depending on the nature of your work

Topics Covered:

  • Learn about different stage-based approaches to behavior change
  • Get a sense of when you should use each of the different approaches
  • See examples of the standard models and prototyping tools used for each approach

Psychology inspired design

If you have not worked in applied psychology, this lesson will help you get comfortable translating abstract psychological theories into creative design concepts

Topics Covered:

  • Learn a down-to-earth approach to applying psychology, like improv
  • Understand how psychology is translated to creative concepts
  • See how psychology-inspired design applies to processes and pages

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