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  • Models of the user: designers’ perspectives on influencing sustainable behaviour

Lockton, Dan, 2012, Journal Article, Models of the user: designers’ perspectives on influencing sustainable behaviour Journal of Design Research, 10 (1/2). p. 7. ISSN 17483050

Abstract or Description:

This paper, co-written by Lockton with Harrison and Stanton, explores how designers model users when seeking to influence behaviour, particularly for environmental benefit, and the links between these models and the choice of design strategies. It was published as the first article in a special issue of the Journal of Design Research focused on the nascent field of design for sustainable behaviour, invited by guest editor Renee Wever (TU Delft) and based on an earlier conference paper presented by Lockton at the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production in 2010.
The article introduces a workshop Lockton ran at the UX London 2010 user experience designers industry conference, in which 130 user-experience designers produced statements of assumptions made about ‘what users are like’ when focusing on behaviour change: motivations, priorities, and so on. Common emergent models – the ‘pinball’, ‘shortcut’ and ‘thoughtful’ – were analysed using a framework from cybernetics, and linked to sustainability examples, including elements of the concurrent Empower/CarbonCulture project.
‘Models of the user’ was one of the first articles to take a reflective approach to the tacit and explicit assumptions designers make when working on behaviour change. All design implies some model of human behaviour, but assumptions often go unquestioned. The article urges a more reflective approach to practice; it also demonstrates the applicability of frameworks from cybernetics to people-centred design.
The models were incorporated into the Design with Intent toolkit as an additional way of selecting appropriate design patterns. Lockton has run a number of workshops using this approach, and developments of it, for clients and partners including Jaguar Land Rover, Philips, West Sussex County Council, Modern Built Environment KTN and the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology, Trondheim.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
School or Centre: Research Centres > Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2012.046137
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2013 11:28
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2014 08:11
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1486

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