How can we support designers to create theory-driven Designs for Behaviour Change?

The Persuasive by Design–Model and how it came to be.

The results of this divide between theory and practice range from a waste of time and energy, all the way up to serious damage.

In the past two years we have been working at building a bridge between behavioural science theory and designerly practice, in a project called Touchpoints.

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Touchpoints Co-Design session, april 2013

The Persuasive by Design–Model

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The Persuasive by Design–model in its current form. PDF version here

A short history of scientific model evolution: a case study in six iterations

A good thing about having a model is that it provides an
intermediate layer between theories and insights, and design tools.

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Persuasive by Design–Model, second iteration

Behaviour takes place in a social practice.
Now which box of that model of yours has that?

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Persuasive by Design–Model, third iteration

So whatever incentive the managers are going to try, their interventions are bound to fail because they do not take the social practice into account.

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Persuasive by Design–Model, fourth iteration
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Persuasive by Design-Model, fifth iteration

Using the model had clear benefits in both case studies: it had an impact on the designs (especially in drawing the attention of the designers to automatic components of the target behaviours), it gave structure to the design process and made it easier to take insights from informative phases
of the design process into later stages.

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Persuasive by Design-model, current iteration

Taking some of the complexity out neccessarily means losing some information.

There is a tension between usability and exhaustiveness.

Meanwhile, the model has arrived at a stable form. The Persuasive by Design-model remains a living thing, subject to change and evolution.

But right now, we think it has reached a stage of maturity in which it can have significant value in the design process.

Principal Behavioural Scientist at OnePlanet Research Center, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Design & Behaviour Change

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