Mini-project 1: Persuasive technology

Identify a social or political issue that you care about. (1 sentence)
Related to this issue, identify a concrete behavior that people engage in that you would like your device to help them change. (1 phrase)
As an early brainstorm, quickly sketch out 3 different ideas for how a persuasive technology could intervene to help people change that behavior. Each of the ideas should use a different persuasive affordance: see list at bottom of this page. (a few bullet points each, optionally including an image)
Note that for this assignment, a persuasive technology must be a technology (not eg. a policy)
Note that persuasive technologies are not, generally speaking, speculative.

Sleep on your first ideas.
Reflecting on your first concepts and using the skills of brainstorming and variation, continue your ideation. The idea you decide to work with may build on the best of your original ideas, it may synthesize ideas from different designs, or it may react to your first ideas by developing a new concept.

Develop your final idea into a full-fledged design. This design should include the following elements:

A precise description of the behavior you would like to change, and how it relates to the issue that matters to you (ca 1 paragraph). Make sure this behavior is specific, observable, and measurable (cf persuasive computing lecture).

A description of the mechanism the device or application will use to persuade users to change the behavior. This description should identify the persuasive affordance you are using, explain how the device instantiates that affordance, and describe how you expect the workings of the device to change the behavior in question. (ca 400 words)

A visual sketch of the interface of the device. What will it actually look like when used? The point of the sketch is to convey your ideas, not to display artistic skills. Annotate your sketch to explain how the features of the device are instantiated. (1 page hand drawing; may also be sketched electronically)

A persuasive argument for why the device has a good chance to be effective at inducing behavior change, drawing on the details of design and reflecting understanding of the readings on persuasive design. You argument should take into account potential pitfalls of this design and conditions under which it could reasonably be used differently from how it is intended (200-300 words)


  • Your three early design sketches. The “sketch” may be in words, or include an image. Each sketch must clearly be labelled with the specific affordance it builds on.
  • Your final design, including the 4 elements described in step 6 of the instructions (behavior description; mechanism description; visual sketch; argument for effectiveness).

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