Design with Intent:101 Patterns for Influencing Behaviour Through Design
All design influences our behaviour, but as designers we don’t always consciously consider the power this gives us to help people, (and, sometimes, to manipulate them). There’s a huge opportunity for design for behaviour change to address social and environmental issues where people’s behaviour is important, but as yet little in the way of a guide for designers and other stakeholders, bringing together knowledge and examples from different disciplines, and drawing parallels which can allow concepts to be usefully transposed. The Design with Intent toolkit (the cards and wiki) aims to make a start, however small, on this task.
I use the term Design with Intent to mean design that’s intended to influence or result in certain user behaviour — it’s an attempt to describe lots of types of systems (products, services, interfaces, environments) that have been strategically designed with the intent to influence how people use them. This reflective approach can be valuable for designers: being aware that we’re designing not just products, not just experiences, but actually designing behaviour at one level or another. Whether we mean to do it or not, it’s going to happen, so we might as well get good at it — and understand when it’s being done to us.
The Design with Intent toolkit has evolved from being an attempt at a very structured, TRIZ-like method for prescribing particular design features to address specific target behaviours, to something which is effectively a very loose idea generation tool, provoking design ideas by asking questions and giving examples of particular principles in action. This evolution is a direct result of iterative improvement through running workshops with designers, and seeing what works and what doesn’t, and what’s usable and what isn’t.