All posts filed under “Design philosophy

Three quotes from clever people

Three quotes from clever people

“Engineers are not the only professional designers. Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. The intellectual activity that produces material artefacts is no different fundamentally from the one that prescribes remedies for a sick patient or the […]

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Persuasion for peace

Persuasion for peace

Influencing individual people’s behaviour often seems to be about mundane or trivial things, such as choosing one type of magazine subscription over another, or using less shower gel in a hotel bathroom. But if we’re honest, it’s only in aggregate that behaviour change is going […]

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Some interesting projects (Part 1)

Some interesting projects (Part 1)

I’ve come across some interesting student projects at various shows and exhibitions this summer, some of which address the relationship between design and people’s behaviour in different situations, and some of which explicitly aim to influence what people do and think. Here’s a selection (Part […]

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A survey for designers: more books to win

A survey for designers: more books to win

Following last week’s card-sorting exercise (which went really well – thanks to everyone who took part), here’s something a bit more open-ended and ongoing. I’m trying to find out how designers and design teams (in-house or consultancies) who’ve worked on influencing user behaviour think about […]

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Cialdini on the Beach

Cialdini on the Beach

Self-monitoring is one of the most common persuasive techniques used in interface design: basically, giving people feedback on what they’re doing and what they’ve done. There are lots of issues about which kinds of feedback work best, in what circumstances, pairing it with feedforward, i.e. […]

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frog design on Design with Intent

frog design on Design with Intent

Robert Fabricant of frog design — with whom I had a great discussion a couple of weeks ago in London — has an insightful new article up at frog’s Design Mind, titled, oddly enough, ‘Design with Intent: how designers can influence behaviour’ — which tackles […]

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The ‘You Are Here’ Use-mark

The ‘You Are Here’ Use-mark

Who really needs a “You Are Here” marker when other visitors’ fingers have done the work for you? (Above, in Florence; below, in San Francisco) Use-marks, like desire paths, are a kind of emergent behaviour record of previous users’ perceptions (and perceived affordances), intentions, behaviours […]

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Anti-teenager “pink lights to show up acne”

Anti-teenager “pink lights to show up acne”

In a similar vein to the Mosquito, intentionally shallow steps (and, superficially at least–though not really–blue lighting in toilets, which Raph d’Amico dissects well here), we now have residents’ associations installing pink lighting to highlight teenagers’ acne and so drive them away from an area: […]

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Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Go straight to the patterns One view of influencing user behaviour – what I’ve called the ‘errorproofing lens’ – treats a user’s interaction with a system as a set of defined target behaviour routes which the designer wants the user to follow, with deviations from […]

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The Hacker’s Amendment

The Hacker’s Amendment

Congress shall pass no law limiting the rights of persons to manipulate, operate, or otherwise utilize as they see fit any of their possessions or effects, nor the sale or trade of tools to be used for such purposes. From Artraze commenting on this Slashdot […]

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Designed environments as learning systems

Designed environments as learning systems

How much of designing an environment is consciously about influencing how people use it? And how much of that influence is down to users learning what the environment affords them, and acting accordingly? The first question’s central what this blog’s been about over the last […]

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Heating debate

Heating debate

Central heating systems have interfaces, and many of us interact with them every day, even if only by experiencing their effects. But there’s a lot of room for improvement. They’re systems where (unlike, say, a car) we don’t generally get instantaneous feedback on the changes […]

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What’s the deal with angled steps?

What’s the deal with angled steps?

It’s a simple question, really, to any readers with experience in urban planning and specifying architectural features: what is the reasoning behind positioning steps at an angle such as this set (left and below) leading down to the Queen’s Walk near London Bridge station? Obviously […]

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