nikki pfarr

I help design teams create products that nudge people to make better decisions and lead healthier lives. I do this by combining insights from behavioral science with qualitative and quantitative design research.

Nikki Pfarr

I bring a behavioral economics lens to my work as a design researcher and strategist, an approach that allows me to better understand human behavior and identify the subtle factors that may influence people's decisions.

I've supported design and innovation centers in companies like Google, Samsung, Group Health, Microsoft, and T-Mobile. My own background as a designer means I'm focused on ensuring research insights are actionable for design. Through workshops and speaking engagements, I help design teams learn to incorporate behavioral science insights into their daily work.

Resume highlights
MIT & MIT Media Lab
Institute of Design
Master of Design
Research & Strategy
Independent Consultant
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Resume highlights

Designing Gadgets to Be DIY Will Make Us Love Them Even More

How taking a cue from IKEA can make products more valuable to customers.

Forget the Quantified Self.
We Need to Build the Quantified Us

Exploring the potential between big and small data., co-authored with Matthew Jordan

10 Scientific Insights That Could Make You A Better Designer

Using behavior change strategies to design persuasive products.
Fast Company, Co.Design

From Data to Decisions: The Path to a Meaningful Quantified Self

How can we use self-tracking to promote healthy behavior?
Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry, co-authored with Matthew Jordan

To Get Users To Make Smarter Choices Now, Show Them Their Future

How we can use the future to influence behavior in the present?
Fast Company, Co.Design

Artefact Report:
Designing to Incentivize

The surprising truth about how some incentives can backfire, and how to avoid unintended consequences.

Artefact Report:
Behavioral Economics

A look at how behavioral economics and cognitive psychology can improve the design process.

Cognitive Biases and
Design Research

Re-evaluating design research methods through the lens of behavioral economics.
Design Research Society, co-authored with Judith Gregory (2010)


An Overview of the Brains, Behavior & Design Project

Design Research Conference (2010)


Innovation Learning Network

Workshop: Smarter Design for Smarter Decisions (2016)

Innovation Learning Network

Improving Breast Cancer Decisions with Human-Centered Design (2016)
with Karen Wernli

The Economist Human Potential Forum

Panel: Teaching Design Thinking (2013)

Seattle AIGA Workshop

Motivation through Communication: Applying behavioral economics for persuasive communication design (2013)

Seattle Net Impact Workshop

Lighting a Fire: Increasing participation in sustainability programs (2013)

Four Peaks Innovation
Summit Keynote

Motivation through Communication: How context, framing, and presentation can change behavior (2012)

Psych! Interactive Strategies Conference Keynote

Playing Games: What motivates people to act? (2012)

Seattle Design Festival Workshop

Waste Not! Designing to encourage smarter consumption with behavioral economics (2012)

IDSA National Conference

Shaping Behavior through Design: Bringing behavioral economics into the design practice (2012)

IDSA Western Design Dialogue Conference

Designing for the "Irrational" Brain (2012)

get in touch
Follow me on Twitter: @nikkipfarr
Send me an email: Click to reveal email address