Sunday, July 01, 2007

Persuasive Design and Usability: What is our role as Usability Professionals?

Our role as usability professionals in using persuasive technology by Silvia Zimmermann, Managing Director at Usability.ch in Zurich, Switzerland ...

"I first came across Persuasive Design back in 2003 when I read the book Persuasive Technology - using Computers to Change What We Think and Do [1]. In his book, B. J. Fogg defines persuasive technology "as any interactive computing system designed to change people's attitudes and behaviors". This definition immediately grabbed my attention. Changing people's attitudes and behaviors for the good could help us to make this world a better place. And turning this world into a better one is one of the key drivers for most of the usability people I know. Most of them don't advocate usability for the money; they want to help make things and consequently life easier.

As Usability people we usually tend to focus on making things easier to use. To allow for good usability and an excellent user experience we integrate user centered design methods and standardized usability processes into our daily work. We are used to doing this; we advocate for it day after day; we even try to persuade our clients and the people around us to do the same because we have a strong belief in it. And without question, making things easier to use is an honorable thing to do, because it generally enhances the overall user experience. However, we as Usability Professionals have the potential to reach beyond! And I invite you to do so.

This year's November 2007 World Usability Day will focus on healthcare and so did partly the Persuasive Technology 2007 conference which I attended in April this year at Standford. Having healthcare in mind, we as Usability Professionals primarily think of usable medical devices and software and how we could improve them to make them more efficient and easier to use. But persuasive design in this area focuses on how technology could be used to motivate people to change their behavior, for instance by increasing their physical activity, by preventing them from smoking, or by changing their eating behavior.

NIKE and Apple for instance introduced NIKE+ to the market which is used to motivate you to increase your physical activity, for example, they turned your iPod into some sort of personal trainer for you. All you have to do to get started is to put a sensor into your NIKE+ compatible shoes and to download the latest iPod software."    (Continued via UPA Voice)    [Usability Resources]

Nike Plus Sensor - Usability, User Interface Design

Nike Plus Sensor

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