Nudge Theory

Nudge Theory in Design

One of Thaler’s favourite illustrations of “nudge” dates back to the early 1990s at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam,
where the floors in the men’s restrooms were getting a little too sticky.

An economist who worked at the airport had the idea to etch an image of a housefly into each urinal just above the drain.
The result was an 80 percent reduction in “spillage.” Sphinx, the manufacturer of the urinals, reported that the fly reduces
clean-up by 20 percent on average. It turns out when men see a target, they want to hit it.

Nudge theory in design can be a remarkable tool or idea. Another good example is from a campaign run on Villiers Street in London
where they looked to reduce littering, the solution was to use nudge theory and turn it into a positive experience. The solution pictured
below saw 38 per cent fewer cigarette butts discarded on the pavements.