About Work

Persuasive Technology

Persuasive technology is about persuading people trough intelligent product design. Even subtleties in a design can persuade a user to perform a particular action. Therefore it’s an interesting topic; products can and will be used more and more to influence human behaviour in the future.  The methods and techniques I have learnt are applicable in a broad scope. We decided to focus on “Het nieuwe werken”(HNW) from the beginning. Because of this new way of working, chances exists that people will become even more independent and less social towards his colleagues. With the provided Theory of Planned Behavior from Ajzen motivations have been analysed to promote the favourable behaviour. Next, using the Game Experience Parameters by Korhonen persuasive cues were designed and built into the final design.

This resulted in a device to persuade people to communicate their work status to their colleagues easily within a company that also recruits “nieuwe werkers”. The persuasive aspect of the device is not in the theoretical model we drew up, but in the interaction that happens between a person and the device. As a flex worker, changing status is done by flipping the bottom part of the phone around. This provides the flex workers with options related to either work or leisure.

Overall you clearly managed to reach the learning goals of the module. Indeed you demonstrate to bridge theory and design practice. Moreover, your team demonstrated an active and involved attitude to working, understanding and learning in the module. Thanks for your participation.

Because of our custom design case, involving “het nieuwe werken”, we managed to get more out of the module.

Final iteration let to an interesting design concept of With a Twist, actually a new calendar and planning device. Well worked out concept, good work on the details of actual interfaces and interaction (although you might have missed on overall issues in the concept). Opens lots of interesting aspects to be further developed, for instance related to the social aspects of HNW, meaning of collaboration, and planning.

Developing in a new direction (because of our custom assignment) enabled a more free approach towards this module. This resulted in a specific product, which wasn’t a perfect design, but (as the feedback states) opens up more interesting aspects about HNW itself.

Complete feedback

The lecturer of the module stated during the first meeting: “Design is all about persuasion, you need to persuade people into using your design”. To learn more about persuasion and human behavior towards products I chose to follow this module. The different theories discussed during the meetings helped me to categorize different behavior and to easily specify target behavior, while looking how to achieve this behavior through design.

The module discussed theories and tools. From all discussed theory and tools we only worked with one theory and one tool. I did this intentionally to get in-depth knowledge about the workings of this one theory and tool, rather than gaining more general knowledge about all the theories and tools. Through the regular presentations from other groups I also gained a sense of how the other theories worked.

The theory of planned behavior focuses on three different variables: Attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control. Working with this theory allowed me to decompose the target behavior change into more specific parts. I could then use one of these parts to focus the design on e.g. “Focus on changing one’s subjective norms towards subject x”. It took some time before we finished mapping our design case in this theory, but it helped greatly into understanding the sub-problems of our target group.

The game experience parameters (Korhonen e.a.,2009) helped to influence design details, that actually accomplish the target behavior.  These parameters were more of a collection of features, rather than a complete theoretical framework. Therefore I believe it missed connection with the Theory of Planned behavior.

To fill this gap between the theory and tool we have defined new sub-goals in the form of rules that would lead to the desired behavior. Defining these rules was difficult since there was no related theory available and no concept was defined in this part of the module yet.

This brings me to another interesting aspect of the module. Rather than focusing on a design (“it’s not about good design”), we had to focus on defining behavior changes using the provided theories. At first this seemed to me like an unnecessary step, since this is a design education. After a few presentations I noticed how the theories slowly helped to get a more focused vision on the final concept. When we were asked to present a design for the final presentation, all the theoretical work we had done earlier provided us with a foundation on which we could more easily create a persuasive design.

The theories I have learned during the module are immediately applicable to the project I am working on. In my current project behavior change plays a major part, therefore I plan to use the Theory of Planned Behavior to decompose my desired behavior change and find out on which aspect my design can respond to make it more persuasive for my target group.

Persuasion is an interesting topic; it’s a pity that we couldn’t dive into the ethics of persuasion during the module. With the knowledge I have now I can already spot persuasive techniques used in everyday life. I believe persuasion isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s often used to more easily guide people through a process, service or experience. People like this approach, because it feels more natural. Basically persuasion is used to humanize or simplify more complex processes, so that people can pay attention to things they really care about.