Robert Fabricant on 'Design for Impulse'

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Dan Lockton

Dec 13, 2008, 6:11:36 PM12/13/08
to Design and Behaviour
Via this extremely interesting IxDA discussion started by David Malouf
- - Frog Design's Robert
Fabricant has an article on Design Mind about what he calls 'Design
for Impulse' -

"Behavior change is at the core of good interaction design,
particularly when you design for social impact... If I was starting an
Interaction Design program... the one academic subject I would be sure
to cover is Behavioral Economics.
Interaction designers have known for some time that people don't
behave rationally when they interact with products and services and
one another. This was the huge failure of the taskflow-driven design
model that dominated software UX for so long. But policy makers are
still catching up and could use a lot of help from the interaction
design community."

The article and especially the IxDA discussion are well worth a read,
particularly for the different points of view among interaction
designers who variously feel engaged and excited by the idea,
sceptical that designers can play any part at all, or disagreeing with
the idea itself that designers ought to play any part in influencing
user behaviour.

I'm not sure that Robert's article necessarily captures some of the
nuances of designing to influence behaviour, and it doesn't go into
much detail about _what_ techniques designers can actually use, or
what elements of behavioural economics he considers useful, but as a
starting point and a recognition that this sort of stuff is important,
it's very welcome and I expect he'll have more to say in due course.

Frog's Samantha Holmes linked to my blog from Design Mind a couple of
years ago, and I seem to remember there were a significant number of
hits coming from within the company, but at that time my site was
focused on the more negative side of influencing behaviour so it
didn't quite have the optimistic buzz there seems to be about this
field today.

Best wishes

Dan Lockton MPhil BSc(Hons) FRSA | Cleaner Electronics Research Group
Brunel Design | Brunel University | London | UB8 3PH |
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