Workshop results on designing for persuasion

A workshop on Designing Persuasive Interactive Environments & Aesthetic Intelligence was held in Pisa, Italy, as part of the AMI12 conference on Ambient Intelligence. The workshop was organized by Delft University of Technology in collaboration with Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. A total of 20 people participated in the workshop.

The full-day workshop had a hands-on character in which practical knowledge on persuasion strategies was being developed while designing interactive prototypes, using an interactive sketching tool developed at the ID-Studiolab. The ambient intelligence conference venue was used as the context for which these designs were developed. The workshop resulted in four different design concepts, in which persuasive design mechanisms were intuitively applied to attain a specific behavioral goal. These concepts were captured on video and presented during the poster session of the conference.

The workshop followed a research-through-design approach consisting of two rapid design cycles, namely an (1) Acting-out session for exploring the concept and an (2) Integrating technology session in which a prototype was built and its application was enacted in the context. When designing for persuasion, the capabilities of an interactive sketching tool, the characteristics of the physical environment and peoples’ inherent social behaviors need to be matched and considered. Reflecting on design involves discussing how aspects of persuasion are embodied in a prototype’s form and interactivity.

The behavioral goals were different for each design team:

  • Designing for physical activity
  • Designing for crowd control
  • Designing for emotional change
  • Designing for social interaction

Designing for physical activity with “LED’s Dance!”
“LED’s dance” is designed to promote physical activity in the hallway of the conference venue. Tangible objects were added to the walls and ceiling of the hallway with the intention to invite passers-by to playfully interact with them. Different tangible objects are placed at higher or lower regions to stimulate active movement, such as crouching and stretching. When a tangible object is touched a snippet of music is played and the next active tangible object in the hallway lights up. Playing snippets of music serves as a reward to the passers-by and lighting the next tangible objects can be seen as a form of tunneling. All together these mechanisms are intended to make the passers-by move through the hallway, meanwhile completing the musical score.

Concept 1: LED’s dance
Mechanism Persuasion strategy
LED’s guiding the visitor through the hallway TUNNELING
Play objects were intuitively inviting FUN
Music as reward completeness of song as progression indication REWARDS / PROGRESSION FEEDBACK

Designing for crowd control with the “Exit Lottery”
“Exit lottery” guides visitors to a specific exit of the conference venue by using lights above the doors and rewarding or punishing them with sound when passing through an exit. Each of the three exit doors at the venue has a light mounted above it. When moving into the proximity of the exit, these lights will light up randomly and one ‘wins’ as in a lottery. This causes a feeling of anticipation. The light aims to guide a visitor to the ‘winning’ exit. When passing through the door, the visitor is rewarded by a nice piece of sound when moving through the winning exit and punished with bad sounds when moving through one of the two non-winning exits. This feedback can influence behavior of visitors the next time they pass through the doors.

Concept 2: Exit lottery
Mechanism Persuasion strategy
Unpredictable, anticipating which light will turn on. EVOKING SURPRISE
Sensorial stimulation (light) GUIDING
Music as reward of passing through the exit REWARD

Designing for emotional change with the “Emotional elevator”
The “Emotional elevator” helps people to reflect on their emotional state in the elevator at the conference venue. After sensing emotions trough the action of pressing the elevator button, the visitor’s mood is projected on the elevator doors just before entering the elevator. This allows visitors to monitor and become aware of their own mood. Being in the elevator allows for a moment of reflection and provides an opportunity for altering it. Projecting the mood publically on the elevator doors (social exposure) allows others to help changing the mood of the person that pushed the button. However, it might also feel socially uncomfortable.

Concept 3: Emotional elevator
Mechanism Persuasion strategy
The elevator monitors and expresses the emotion sensed. SELF MONITORING
The emotion is visible to others as well SOCIAL EXPOSURE

Designing for social interaction with “Flowertalk”
“Flowertalk” is an interactive system that stimulates conversation in the conference venue canteen by lowering the threshold to converse with people sitting at the same table. The system consists of interactive ‘flowers’ that are placed on a message board in the canteen. Flowers have the possibility to record and playback messages. Allowing people to listen to these private recordings makes them curious and may make them want to listen to more messages. The opportunity for people to record a voice message themselves, appeals to the need for self-expression. After listening, flowers can be taken off the message board and a ‘stem’ on one of the canteen tables will start blinking, suggesting the visitor to go to that table (guiding). The flower can then be attached to the ‘stem’ at the table. Upon attachment, voice messages are played out loud, thus lowering the threshold (i.e., simplifying) to start a conversation with others sitting at the table.

Concept 4: Flower Talk
Mechanism Persuasion strategy
Listening to the messages stored in flowers on the message board CURIOSITY
Leaving a message yourself into a flower SELF EXPRESSION
A blinking light to highlight your table GUIDING
Having the possibility to play out loud messages at a table. SIMPLIFY (SOCIALITY)

During the workshop insights were gained on how to design for persuasion. Strategies (such as tunneling, providing rewards and the use of simplification, etc.) were intuitively applied into physical form and interaction. Furthermore, designing in context created visibility of design activities at the conference venue making it easy to engage passers-by. Also, organization issues such as building safety regulations needed to be dealt with on the fly. To conclude, we would like to thank the workshop participants for their creativity and enthusiasm and we welcome all feedbacks and comments from the ambient intelligence community. Also thanks to our sponsors for having made this workshop possible.

The organizing team