All posts filed under “Speakers’ Corner

Two events next week

Next Wednesday evening, 27th May, I’ll be giving a presentation about Design with Intent at SkillSwap Brighton’s ‘Skillswap Goes Behavioural’ alongside Ben Maxwell from Onzo (pioneers of some of the most interesting home energy behaviour change design work going on at present). I hope I’ll be able to give a thought-provoking talk with plenty of ideas and examples that can be practically applied in interaction, service design and user experience. Thanks to James Box of Clearleft for organising this.


Then on Thursday 28th, I’m honoured to be talking as part of a symposium in Loughborough University’s Radar Arts Programme‘s ‘Architectures of Control‘ themed events exploring how our lives are impacted by social and environmental controls.

The symposium is interspersed with the performance of Mark Titchner’s ‘Debating Society and Run’, which sounds intriguing. In the symposium I’ll be talking alongside Professor David Canter, who seems to have had an incredible career ranging from environmental to offender profiling (inspiration for Cracker, etc) and Alexa Hepburn, senior lecturer in Social Psychology at Loughborough. Again, I hope my presentation does justice to the event and other participants! Thanks to Nick Slater for inviting me.

The week after (4th June) I’ll be giving a presentation at UFI in Sheffield, best known for its Learndirect courses. I’m hoping to be able to run a bit of a very rapid idea-generation workshop as part of this talk, something of an ultra-quick trial of the DwI toolkit

Persuasive 2009

UPDATED (7 April): Here’s an ‘author version preprint’ of the paper, Influencing Interaction: Development of the Design with Intent Method [PDF, 1.6MB]. At some point soon this version of the paper will downloadable from Brunel’s research archive, while the ‘proper’ version will be available in the ACM Digital Library. ACM requires me to state the following alongside the link to the preprint:

© ACM, 2009. This is the authors’ version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version will be published in Proceedings of Persuasive 2009: Fourth International Conference on Persuasive Technology, Claremont, CA, 26-29 April 2009, ACM Digital Library. ISBN 978-1-60558-376-1.


Claremont Graduate University - photo by Katherine H on Flickr

I’m pleased to announce that a paper I submitted to Persuasive 2009, at the Claremont Colleges, California (26-29th April) has been accepted, so I’ll be presenting ‘Influencing Interaction: Development of the Design with Intent Method’ on Monday 27th April.

The paper builds on the ideas I presented at Persuasive 2008 (the paper), detailing the development of the ‘Design with Intent Method‘, a ‘suggestion tool’ for designers faced with briefs involving influencing user behaviour, and the results of a series of pilot studies to test the usability of the method.

At the time of submitting the paper (New Year’s Eve, 6pm!), the pilot studies were still going on (poor planning by me), so (as the reviewers noted!) the paper’s conclusions are fairly weak, and there are quite a few revisions I need to make before submitting the final version: the next couple of weeks are going to require some fairly intense work in that vein. But it’s great to have been accepted: Persuasive 2008 was fantastic, incredibly useful in terms of meeting people and getting feedback on the proposed research, and I’m hoping 2009 will be just as good. The big-name speakers include BJ Fogg, originator of the Persuasive Technology field, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (of ‘Flow‘ fame), and Brenda Laurel (author of Design Research: Methods and Perspectives, which I’ll admit I haven’t yet got round to reading, largely because of Nigel Cross’s review, but maybe I should find the time!). As always, though, it’s the chance to talk to and get to know other people working on similar problems, or offering a different point of view on the field, which is especially interesting.

The proceedings are going to be published by the ACM (last year’s were published by Springer), but I don’t have any more details at this stage. I’ll post a preprint version of the paper here once it’s ready, of course.

Many thanks to my co-authors: my supervisors Professor David Harrison (Brunel) and Professor Neville Stanton (Southampton) for their help, and Tim Holley whose insights into improving and using the method were extremely useful. Thanks too to all the other pilot study participants, and also to the Royal Academy of Engineering, who very kindly awarded an international travel grant to help me attend the conference. I am aware of the hypocrisy of flying halfway round the world to talk (in part) about influencing more environmentally friendly behaviour, and the cognitive dissonance is headache-inducing. Why there aren’t more live, online academic conferences, I don’t know.

Here are the abstract and ACM meta-stuff for the paper:

Influencing Interaction: Development of the Design with Intent Method
Dan Lockton¹, David Harrison¹, Tim Holley², Neville A. Stanton³
¹Cleaner Electronics Research Group, Brunel Design, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
²Product Design Programme, Brunel Design, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, United Kingdom
³School of Civil Engineering & the Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, Hampshire SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom

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 described 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. 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.

Categories and Subject Descriptors
H.1.2 [Models and Principles]: User/Machine Systems – human factors, software psychology. H.5.2 [Information Interfaces and Presentation (e.g. HCI)]: User Interfaces – theory and methods, user-centered design.
General Terms
Design, Human Factors.
Persuasive technology, behavior change, sustainability, energy, interaction design, design methods, innovation methods.

On other matters, I’m proud to say that Planetizen, the urban design and planning community and blog has named Design with Intent one of its Top 10 Websites for 2009 – a nice accolade given how broad the scope here is beyond urbanism and architecture! Some of the other websites recommended are well worth a deeper read – On the Commons, Digital Urban, Infranet Lab and Gapminder stood out for me.

Adding that Planetizen accolade to Six Revisions’ inclusion of the blog in its ’20 websites to help you master user interface design’, it’s clear that, if nothing else, the themes we cover here really do meander about over conventional disciplinary boundaries. It’s all about people interacting with designed systems, whether they’re concrete plazas, electric kettles or confirmation dialogues, and I’d like to think the similarities are worth investigating.

Photo of Claremont Graduate University by Katherine H on Flickr

‘Design | Behaviour: Making it Happen’ Seminar, 17th October

Design | Behaviour: Making it happen

Debra Lilley, who runs the very useful Design-Behaviour website, sends details of an interesting forthcoming seminar at Loughborough University:

Design | Behaviour: Making it Happen!

The 13th Sustainable Design Network Seminar Design | Behaviour: Making it Happen! will be held on the 17th October 2008 at the Engineering Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (engCETL), Loughborough University. This special one-day event – featuring presentations, design activities and discussion – will explore methodologies for designing behavioural change and the ethical implications of designing products to encourage more sustainable use. Cost £60 (£20 concession) including lunch and refreshments. To find out more and book a place at this event please visit:

I’ll be doing a presentation in the morning – here’s the abstract, and I’ll try and put a version online too afterwards:

Design for Sustainable Behaviour: Easier Efficiency by Influencing Interaction

Dan Lockton, School of Engineering & Design, Brunel University

The idea of using design strategically to influence users’ behaviour – Design with Intent – recurs across many fields, in diverse contexts, and a set of patterns can be identified, linking target behaviours to particular design techniques, physical, psychological and technical. Applying these techniques to environmental problems where user behaviour is a significant factor offers the prospect of Design for Sustainable Behaviour – helping people use everyday products and systems more efficiently.

The agenda isn’t online yet, but I’m guessing there’ll be some really insightful talks from people working on the intersection of design, sustainability and user behaviour – along with Debra, Loughborough’s Tracy Bhamra, Vicky Lofthouse and Tang Tang have all done some great work in this field. If you’re in the UK and interested in this sort of stuff, this seminar sounds very worthwhile.

engCETL, Loughborough

Designing Safe Living

New Sciences of Protection logo Lancaster University’s interdisciplinary Institute for Advanced Studies (no, not that one) has been running a research programme, New Sciences of Protection, culminating in a conference, Designing Safe Living, on 10-12 July, “investigat[ing] ‘protection’ at the intersections of security, sciences, technologies, markets and design.”

The keynote speakers include the RCA’s Fiona Raby, Yahoo!’s Benjamin Bratton and Virginia Tech’s Timothy Luke, and the conference programme [PDF, 134 kB] includes some intriguing sessions on subjects such as ‘The Art/Design/Politics of Public Engagement’, ‘Designing Safe Citizens’, ‘Images of Safety’ and even ‘Aboriginal Terraformation (performance panel)’.

I’ll be giving a presentation called ‘Design with Intent: Behaviour-Shaping through Design’ on the morning of Saturday 12 July in a session called ‘Control, Design and Resistance’. There isn’t a paper to accompany the presentation, but here’s the abstract I sent in response to being invited by Mark Lacy:

Design with Intent: Behaviour-Shaping through Design
Dan Lockton, Brunel Design, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH

“Design can be used to shape user behaviour. Examples from a range of fields – including product design, architecture, software and manufacturing engineering – show a diverse set of approaches to shaping, guiding and forcing users’ behaviour, often for intended socially beneficial reasons of ‘protection’ (protecting users from their own errors, protecting society from ‘undesirable’ behaviour, and so on). Artefacts can have politics. Commercial benefit – finding new ways to extract value from users – is also a significant motivation behind many behaviour-shaping strategies in design; social and commercial benefit are not mutually exclusive, and techniques developed in one context may be applied usefully in others, all the while treading the ethical line of persuasion-vs-coercion.

Overall, a field of ‘Design with Intent’ can be identified, synthesising approaches from different fields and mapping them to a range of intended target user behaviours. My research involves developing a ‘suggestion tool’ for designers working on social behaviour-shaping, and testing it by application to sustainable/ecodesign product use problems in particular, balancing the solutions’ effectiveness at protecting the environment, with the ability to cope with emergent behaviours.”

The programme’s rapporteur, Jessica Charlesworth, has been keeping a very interesting blog, Safe Living throughout the year.

I’m not sure what my position on the idea of ‘designing safe living’ is, really – whether that’s the right question to ask, or whether ‘we’ should be trying to protect ‘them’, whoever they are. But it strikes me that any behaviour, accidental or deliberate, however it’s classified, can be treated/defined as an ‘error’ by someone, and design can be used to respond accordingly, whether viewed through an explicit mistake-proofing lens or simply designing choice architecture to suggest the ‘right’ actions over the ‘wrong’ ones.

Design with Intent presentation from Persuasive 2008

EDIT: I’ve now added the audio! Thanks everyone for the suggestions on how best to do it; the audio is hosted on this site rather than the Internet Archive as the buffering seemed to stall a bit too much. Let me know if you have any problems.

I’ve put my presentation from Persuasive 2008 on SlideShare, – because of the visual style it really needs to be listened to, or viewed alongside the text (below, or in the comments when viewing it on the SlideShare site). Alternatively, just download it [PPT, 11.6 Mb] – it comes with the notes.

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