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.
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
ABSTRACT 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. Keywords 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