Problem summary

Communicate to users in situations that are the opportune moments for change


  • Use when users respond better to feedback in some situations over others.
  • Use when users are more likely to change behavior or make critical decisions in some situations over others.
  • Do not use when feedback has the same effect whether it is delivered now or later.

This card is part of the Persuasive Patterns printed card deck

The Persuasive Patterns Card Deck is a collection of 60 design patterns driven by psychology, presented in a manner easily referenced and used as a brainstorming tool.

Get your deck!


Kairos is “a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved”2. Kairos are situations of change.

Kairos occur in many situations – some are random but others come in patterns. One such pattern is when a user exits one group to join another. Such situations are potentially valuable as they represent moments where users are open and receptive to making a deal or making a behavior change.

From an advertising and e-commerce perspective, karios situations are great open opportunities to tailor specific messages and offers to users.

Kairos are moments to strike! Your chance of success in delivering your message to the user is far better when you utilize Kairos than just any time.

Kairos comes in patterns

Patterns of change

A good place to look for patterns are when larger changes occur. Look for “patterns of change”. Direct your attention when users are ready to buy their first car, move away from home, buy their first home, buy their first furniture, return their first furniture, when their first baby is born, and when their baby is moving away from home. These are events happening only once for the individual, but all the time for users when seen as a community.

Patterns of recurring behavior

We have a tendency to conduct the same behavior over and over again. We make the same mistakes again and again, shop the same places, and repeat the same decisions. It’s just easier and more comforting than spending energy on making a rational informed decision – or changing behavior. These tendencies form “patterns of recurring behavior” that can act as opportunities for you to tailor messages and offers that make it easier for users to conduct their regular habits.

Map it out

Map out what situations of change and recurring behavior that you can possibly support and build experiences to support them.


Kairos represents situations of change. Situations of change are potentially valuable because they represent moments where users are open and receptive to making a deal or changing a behavior.

By striking at the exact right time, the chances of successfully being effective in delivering your message an in turn create sales, change behavior, or in other way influence users’ decisions are much larger than striking at any other time.

Utilizing Kairos is a step away from broadcasting your message to everybody all the time toward tailoring your message to the individual at the right time. The same message is relevant to different people at different opportune moments.


1 Kairos at

2 E. C. White, Kaironomia p. 13

User Interface Design Patterns