10 January 2010

Design for sustainable behaviour (part 1)

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Design with Intent Toolkit
Dan Lockton, a Ph.D. researcher at Brunel University (UK), has together with professors David Harrison and Neville Stanton, recently published a range of papers on the topic of design for sustainable behaviour (the list also contains one blog post):

Design for Sustainable Behaviour: investigating design methods for influencing user behaviour
October 2009
This research aims to develop a design tool for product and service innovation which influences users towards more sustainable behaviour, reducing resource use and leading to a lower carbon footprint for everyday activities. The paper briefly explains the reasoning behind the tool and its structure, and presents an example application to water conservation with concept ideas generated by design students.

Choice architecture and design with intent
June 2009
Motivation – Choice architecture (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008) is a phrase of the moment among politicians and economists seeking to influence public behaviour, but the relevance of the concept to designers has received little attention. This paper places choice architecture within the context of Design with Intent—design intended to influence user behaviour. Research approach – The concepts are introduced and choice architecture is deconstructed. Findings/Design – Affordances and Simon’s behavioural model (1955) help understand choice architecture in more detail. Research limitations/Implications – This is only a very brief, limited foray into what choice architecture is. Originality/Value – User behaviour can be a major determinant of product efficiency: user decisions can contribute significantly to environmental impacts. Understanding the reasons behind them, a range of design techniques can be identified to help users towards more efficient interactions. Take away message – The intended outcome is a useful design method for helping users use things more efficiently.

‘Smart meters’: some thoughts from a design point of view
June 2009
Lockton’s response to the three most design-related questions in the smart meter consultation by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change

Design for behaviour change: The design with intent toolkit v.0.9 [poster]
April 2009
The Design with Intent Toolkit aims to help designers faced with ‘design for behaviour change’ briefs. The poster* features 12 design patterns which recur across design fields (interaction, products, architecture), and there are also 35 more detailed here on the website.
>> See also these blog posts on what is happening with the toolkit: part 1 and part 2

Influencing interaction: Development of the design with intent method
April 2009
Persuasive Technology has the potential to influence user behavior for social benefit, e.g. to reduce environmental impact, but designers are lacking guidance choosing among design techniques for influencing interaction. The Design with Intent Method, a ‘suggestion tool’ addressing this problem, is introduced in this paper, and applied to the briefs of reducing unnecessary household lighting use, and improving the efficiency of printing, primarily to evaluate the method’s usability and guide the direction of its development. The trial demonstrates that the DwI Method is quick to apply and leads to a range of relevant design concepts. With development, the DwI Method could be a useful tool for designers working on influencing user behavior.

Design with intent: Persuasive technology in a wider context
June 2008
Persuasive technology can be considered part of a wider field of ‘Design with Intent’ (DwI) – design intended to result in certain user behaviour. This paper gives a very brief review of approaches to DwI from different disciplines, and looks at how persuasive technology sits within this space.

Making the user more efficient: Design for sustainable behaviour
May 2008
User behaviour is a significant determinant of a product’s environmental impact; while engineering advances permit increased efficiency of product operation, the user’s decisions and habits ultimately have a major effect on the energy or other resources used by the product. There is thus a need to change users’ behaviour. A range of design techniques developed in diverse contexts suggest opportunities for engineers, designers and other stakeholders working in the field of sustainable innovation to affect users’ behaviour at the point of interaction with the product or system, in effect ‘making the user more efficient’. Approaches to changing users’ behaviour from a number of fields are reviewed and discussed, including: strategic design of affordances and behaviour-shaping constraints to control or affect energyor other resource-using interactions; the use of different kinds of feedback and persuasive technology techniques to encourage or guide users to reduce their environmental impact; and context-based systems which use feedback to adjust their behaviour to run at optimum efficiency and reduce the opportunity for user-affected inefficiency. Example implementations in the sustainable engineering and ecodesign field are suggested and discussed.

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