The economist Richard Thaler has studied how people save money and how they make decisions. With his research, he established the relatively new field of behavioral economics. Nudges are subtle contextual changes that help users to make good decisions. This happens without increasing the reward, limiting the freedom of choice, or needing a time-intense implementation.
The term nudging may seem like a new frame for something already familiar. Some psychological effects which are mentioned in the book “Nudge” are many decades old. Just think of the conformity effect (1936), the default effect (1993), and the spotlight effect (1999). Very related are also terms such as Persuasive Design and Persuasive UX Principles—which are more focused on commercial success. The greatest benefit of nudging is the shift towards good decision-making which is in the users’ interest.