Seattle, February 3,-4, 2019

Behavior Change Design Sprints

Interaction Design Education Summit
Published in
3 min readApr 16, 2019


Lucas Colusso, Human Centered Design and Engineering, University of Washington

During the workshop session

While numerous design methods used in industry help designers to brainstorm design ideas, few help them to use theory in the design process. Behavior change theories can support design activities as well as provide nuanced understandings of how people behave.

In this Interaction workshop, I presented the Behavior Change Design Sprint (BCDS), a design process for using behavior change theories in prototyping behavior change technologies. BCDS facilitates the application of theories into the design process through a series of exercises that help designers identify intervention placement and project behavioral outcomes, conduct more focused ideation, and advocate for their design rationale.

I hope the Behavior Change Design Sprint is useful to designers looking for ways to quickly and easily incorporate behavioral theories into their design process, and perhaps researchers interested in disseminating their research outcomes to practitioners, or in translating behavioral theories for their own studies.


I identified downsides with the current processes to design behavior change technologies and used them as design goals for the creation of a new behavior change design process:

  • Workflow fit. Existing behavior change design processes don’t fit into the context of designers. Processes are either too time-consuming or use terminology that is unusual for designers. To better align with what designers do in practice, I used the Google Design Sprint process as a foundation for BCDS, making it a straightforward step by step with terminology and exercises that are familiar to designers.
  • Theory-driven insights. Past processes are disconnected from behavior change literature. I wanted to facilitate the use of behavior change theory since there’s a wealth of behavior change theories that can be leveraged by designers.
  • Design ethics. Past processes don’t have any particular steps or guidance related to design ethics. As we all know, ethics is a particularly challenging aspect of behavior change design. I wanted to encourage designers to consider ethics as a key factor in the design of behavior change technologies.

If you are interested in using the Behavior Change Design Sprint, download all the required resources (sprint guide, slides that can be used by moderators, example design challenges, personas, and scenarios, behavior change design cards deck.):


Lucas Colusso, Tien Do, and Gary Hsieh. 2018. Behavior Change Design Sprints. In Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ‘18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 791–803.

Slides of the Presentation

About the Lucas Colusso

Lucas is passionate about the craft of UX Design and how it entangles with research. Throughout his career, Lucas has garnered experience designing, as well as investigating experiences, both in academia and in industry.



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