Fall 2004: 4.208
Designing Persuasive Environments and Technologies

Rapid Design 2: Environments

Due beginning of class on Thursday, Sep 30 


The goal of this assignment is to get you thinking about the application of the theories of persuasion we are talking about in class as they relate to present and future environments. 


Pick one of the following locations: 

Then pick one or two of the following behavior change domains: 

Now spend 30 minutes observing and taking field notes (as in previous assignment) at your location. Map the space and focus your efforts on studying how the information environment and physical environment are motivating physical behaviors related to your behavior topic selection. Think carefully about how information is being conveyed (e.g. from person to person).  Pay attention to the objects people are using and what they are attending to. 

Next (if possible in the same location) spend another 1.5 hours developing several ideas for how to change the physical and/or digital environment to motivate behavior change. 

As in the flossing design assignment, you can assume that you have any advanced technology or materials available today at your disposal and that cost of the technology/materials/renovations is not an issue. However, you cannot assume that you (as the space/product creator) have an infinite supply of money to give to people to motivate behavior changes. 

Your ideas should help motivate the behavior change(s) for months and years. Think about what will keep the motivational components working well beyond the novelty phase (but in a way that does not require a constant influx of funds!). For each significant component of your ideas, list at least one concept from the readings so far lending support for your strategy. 

Use persuasion, not coercion

The idea here is not to simply motivate behavior change by disallowing status quo behavior. For instance, forcing people to get stair climbing exercise by eliminating elevators would not be a good design. Not only would it ignore the needs of the elderly or disabled, it may cause people to avoid the final destination all together! Be creative in your approaches. You can add and change messages being conveyed (digital or otherwise), you can propose changing the design of the space itself, or both. Don't forget about mobile technologies as well.  

Give each of your ideas a name to remember them by. 


For each different idea, create a "summary poster" on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. This can have diagrams, text, observations, or whatever you feel best conveys your ideas and what makes them novel, interesting, and (potentially) effective. This will be a slide that you can talk to when you describe your ideas to help someone understand them. Make enough copies of your summary sheets to hand out to each person in the class and an additional copy to hand in.  The summary should include information suggesting why your ideas will work based on the ideas we've read about in class so far. You should be prepared to describe and support your best idea in about 1 minute in class. 

Last modified: Wednesday, September 08, 2004