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?