Research Lab on Urban Landscapes and Architecture

Design with Intent – A blog on design that influences behaviour

From the layout of shopping malls to digital rights management, our everyday lives are full of examples of products, systems and environments which have been designed to shape, guide or control – influence – our behaviour, using a wide range of techniques: technological, physical or psychological.

Intended commercial benefit is a major reason behind this; intended social benefit can be too (though it’s often fraught with politics). Sometimes the behaviour-shaping is helpful to the user; sometimes it’s serving someone else against the user’s best interests. Sometimes it’s trying to get the user to do something; sometimes it’s trying to stop the user doing something.

The common factor to all of this is intent on the part of the designer/engineer/planner or his or her corporate/political masters. This is Design with Intent: strategic design that’s intended to influence or result in certain user behaviour.

These presentations I gave at Persuasive 2008, Persuasive 2009, and Skillswap Brighton give a quick run-through of the background to the Design with Intent concept and how it’s developed, with examples from different fields, as do these papers.


Filed under: Discussion

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