Persuasive Design Patterns

The Design with Intent toolkit is a guide to help you design sys­tems to influ­ence a user’s beha­viour. The author, Dan Lock­ton, has sub­titled the toolkit 101 Pat­terns for Influ­en­cing Beha­viour Through Design.

Cat­egor­ised into the fol­low­ing eight ‘lenses’ (ways to look at design and beha­viour) the toolkit proves to be a fant­ast­ic resource for help­ing you per­suade through design.

  • Archi­tec­tur­al (e.g. Seg­ment­a­tion and Spa­cing: Can you divide your sys­tem up into parts, so people only use one bit at a time?)
  • Error­proof­ing (pre­vi­ously) (e.g. Choice Edit­ing: Can you edit the choices presen­ted to users so only the ones ou want them to have are avail­able?)
  • Inter­ac­tion (e.g. Par­tial Com­ple­tion: Can you show that the first stage of a pro­cess has been com­pleted already, to give users con­fid­ence to do the next?)
  • Lud­ic (e.g. Unpre­dict­able Rre­in­force­ment: What hap­pens if you give rewards or feed­back on an unpre­dict­able sched­ule, so users keep play­ing or inter­act­ing?)
  • Per­cep­tu­al (e.g. Fake Afford­ances: Is there any­thing to be gained from mak­ing some­thing look like it works one way, while actu­ally doing some­thing else (or noth­ing at all)?)
  • Cog­nit­ive (e.g. Social Proof: Can you show people what oth­er users like them are doing in this situ­ation, and which choices are most pop­u­lar?)
  • Machiavel­lian (e.g. Anchor­ing: Can you affect user­s’ expect­a­tions or assump­tions by con­trolling the ref­er­ence points they have?)
  • Secur­ity (e.g. Peer­veil­lance: What hap­pens if users know (or believe) that what they’re doing is vis­ible to their peers also using the sys­tem?)

From the intro­duc­tion to v0.9 of the toolkit:

You have a product, ser­vice or environment—a sys­tem—where users’ beha­viour is import­ant to it work­ing prop­erly (safely, efficiently), so ideally you’d like people to use it in a cer­tain way.

Or maybe you have a sys­tem where it would be desir­able to alter the way that people use it, to improve things for users, the people around them, or soci­ety as a whole.

How can you modi­fy the design, or redesign the sys­tem, to achieve this: to influence, or change users’ beha­viour?