Monday, May 12, 2008

Design Strategies for Sustainable User Behaviour

A new journal and article ...

"User-Centred Design for Sustainable Behaviour
Time for a small celebration. A paper that Renee Wever (also from TU Delft), Casper Boks (NTNU Norway) and I wrote together has been accepted for the first issue of the new International Journal of Sustainable Engineering, published by Taylor and Francis. It is entitled 'User-centred Design for Sustainable Behaviour' and in it we explore the possibilities of using product design to nudge users towards more sustainable product use. Most 'traditiona'l eco-design approaches have focused on cleaner production and creating more efficient products (using less resources), but less attention has been paid at how to include the users in this picture.

Getting users to behave 'green'
Many modern cars prevent us from making mistakes that will cost us a lot of time and effort. For example, they make it impossible to lock the driver-seat door from the outside without using the key. This prevents you from leaving your keys inside the vehicle and locking yourself out. In other words: the car prevents you from producing unfavorable side-effects. In this paper we explore the possibility of influencing user-product interaction through the design of the product with the aim of improving the sustainability of product use.

Four design strategies
We provide a typology of four user-centered design strategies for inducing sustainable behavior.

* Functionality matching: adapt a product better to the actual use by consumers and thereby try to minimize negative side effects;
* Eco-feedback: the user is presented with specific information on the impact of his or her current behavior, and it is left to the user to relate this information to his or her own behaviour, and adapt this behaviour, or not;
* Scripting: creating obstacles for unsustainable use, or making sustainable behaviour so easy, it is performed almost without thinking about it;
* Forced functionality: making products adapt automatically to changing circumstances, or to design-in strong obstacles to prevent unsustainable behaviour.

The four strategies are supported with examples from packaging, automotive and consumer electronics."    (Continued via the product usability weblog)    [Usability Resources]

Sustainable User Behaviour - Usability, User Interface Design

Sustainable User Behaviour


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