Behavioral Design Models

6. Target Behavior Funnel

Target behaviors are often preceded by many steps. This model will help you map the required behaviors to get an actor in a position to receive value.
Target behaviors are often preceded by many steps. This model will help you map the required behaviors to get an actor in a position to receive value.
  1. Write the target behavior to the right of the paper
  2. Ask yourself: What does this actor need to do this?
  3. Add the behaviors to the left and link them to the existing behavior
  4. Check you are adding behaviors, not requirements
  5. Repeat from 2 for each new item you add until you find trivial behaviors

This time we will center on how to get one of the many target behaviors we have already recognized to happen by setting up the conditions for that behavior to be possible. Remember to watch how long it takes you to adjust the complexity estimation made on Model #5 -Design Effort .

The chosen target behavior is necessary to make our product show value to an actor. But, we have yet to discover what is required for this behavior to happen. You see, every behavior that we try to create in our actors does not exist in a vacuum. In general, they require that other behaviors have happened before. These are required behaviors.

Imagine you want to ride the metro somewhere; the objective behavior is clear: you want to travel somewhere. There is one obvious requirement the company requires you to pay for a ticket and travel around the city. However, there are several previous behaviors such as:

  • Find and locate the station.
  • Identify which line and direction to travel
  • Wait for the subway at the station
  • Notice when it arrives
  • Get on it
  • Get out at the right stop

If one of these behaviors, for whatever reason, does not happen, the target behavior has no chance of being executed. For example, if you cannot find the subway station, you will not reach their destination. Likewise, if you can't climb the vehicle's steps or if you can't figure out which line takes you to the place you want to go, you won't reach your destination and probably won't use the subway next time. Therefore, we need to design all the steps that lead each actor to the target behavior.

Required behaviors precede the objective, and they generate the conditions needed for it to happen. Therefore, they should be critical for us as product designers. Without these previous behaviors, the objective behaviors have no possibility of existing.

Some of you might have already discovered that this structure is much like a conversion funnel. A conversion funnel is a term common in sales, a structure where each step of the funnel represents a stage where users might drop off. A conversion (or a deal) happens when a customer travels through all the stages without that happening. In our case, each consecutive required behavior is a step on the funnel.

The Model

This model is about recognizing required behaviors. First, write down the target behavior you are currently working on on the right of a page, and circle it down. Then ask yourself: What does this actor need to do this?

Consider your answer; you should find behaviors. For example, "Having Money" is not a behavior, "To Pay" is. It is easy to get tangled and write down resources or motivations as steps in this model. To double-check that you are enumerating an action, look if you are using a verb.

It is also important to note that the granularity we decide on will affect our model. For example, "To pay" can be a single node, or you can break it down into, take the wallet out of the pocket, swipe the card through a device, etc. The first case is correct for most scenarios, but this granularity can be helpful if the product is, for example, a payment device.

There is often more than one behavior that can set up the conditions for others to happen. For example, you can place your order online or at the counter. List all the behaviors you find in a column to the left of the target behavior and draw an arrow pointing at it. Then, consider these required behaviors as targets and ask the same question for them: "What does this actor need to do this?"

You should continue adding columns to the left you reach a behavior

you can consider trivial to the problem we are solving. Of course, defining a trivial behavior will depend on the depth you want to explore the problem, the nature of the actor, and the behavior you want to create.

Model 6 - Empty

By the end of this process, you should have a tree-like structure that spawns from right to left of your page and lists all the ways a user may reach the state to perform the desired target behavior.


My business is selling hamburgers at a fast-food joint. My burgers are the best in the world; therefore, I know they will see value in their purchase if people try them. From the user's perspective, this is the objective behavior, not to buy the hamburger (which generates value for the business).

What do they need to be able to eat the hamburger? To have the hamburger in the first place, I mean to get it at the counter when the order is ready. And for this? To pay for it. Before that? To chose what hamburger to get, either at the counter or on one of the touch screens. Finally, they must have entered the premises to pick them and drive from their home to reach the door of the premises (let's assume no delivery option is available). For this scheme, the model looks more or less like this:

Model 6 - Example