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Room 1 | reboot11

Persuasive Design

The Fine Art of Separating People from their Bad Behaviours

The slides are now online at:

Looking into my feed reader, it seems like the solution to global warming and world peace are just within reach: All it takes are another 20-or-so energy consumption visualization tools and another 20 social networks for "fixing my street".

But there's more. It's called persuasive technology; design with intent; persuasive design; persuasion architecture; or design for behaviour change: Using digital technology to shape people's attitudes and behaviours - and help them perservere in realizing their own best intentions against their own worst inertia, sudden impulses and inattentiveness.

Sounds like an elaborate 1950's secret service mind control joke? Or is it actually possible? And if so, is it ethical? Has it already been done? And how can you do it yourself for your own projects?

This talk led through the brief history of persuasive design and explained why it's one talk of the town among design agencies like frog (, adaptive path ( and HFI (, warning: nasality ahead) right now.

It explained how persuasive design is different from traditional conversion optimization or usability, and why websites aiming and action for your own or the social good have always been in the persuasion business.

It showed commonalities with other trends like behavorial economics or personal informatics.

It led through three ways that web applications can shape a user's behaviour (constraining, facilitating, motivating it), and pointed to the models and methods of persuasive design that currently exist out there.

It gave numerous examples like or, showed lots of nifty pictures, and threw in a design principle or two for good measure.