Target behaviours

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'Target behaviours' are a tentative attempt to introduce a more formal ‘prescription’ mode to the DwI toolkit: matching patterns to particular kinds of behaviour change. Inspired by the TRIZ problem-solving method, the target behaviours are ‘ideal’ intended outcomes: particular behaviours which a designer (or client) wants to achieve through design. They’re an abstract classification for behaviours, expressed as goals — the 11 example target behaviours in the table below have been identified by deconstructing real situations, but this is only scratching the surface of what could be done with a more wide-ranging analysis. There are clearly an infinity of ways that target behaviours could be abstracted, but some descriptions will be more useful (and common) than others.

I’m not entirely convinced that this is a way forward for DwI, primarily because in the workshop trials I’ve run, designers really don’t seem to enjoy using this kind of prescription method, at least in comparison to using the cards for free-form inspiration (and they come up with fewer ideas). But even as a starting point for a different kind of target behaviour classification, it seems worth reproducing here. There's also the likelihood that while 'creative' designers themselves may not enjoy using this sort of prescriptive method, it is still useful for other situations where 'means-end relations'(to use Kaptein & Eckles' term) need to be evaluated - for example, at a different stage of the design process, or situations involving stakeholders who want to know, fundamentally, which techniques work and which don't, in different circumstances.

BJ Fogg and his team at Stanford have a different take on target behaviours, based on schedules of occurrence, with the Behavior Wizard and Behavior Grid. The kinds of target behaviour they describe are sufficiently general to be more scaleable than those I’ve outlined here, with the wizard being a clever way of tunnelling to the most applicable description of the behaviour. This is potentially a more promising way of thinking about target behaviours, although the 'resolving contradictions' nature of TRIZ is also appealing. I can imagine a BehaviourTRIZ at some future point, just as BioTRIZ has emerged from Julian Vincent's work on biomimetics. However, given the inherent variability in human nature, a whole orthogonal dimension of individual profiling would perhaps come into play, making for a very difficult matrix indeed...

The realistic alternative is probably something closer to the 'traditional' design pattern form, with a balance between being entirely prescriptive ("Use this when...") and inspirational ("If you're looking to influence people like this, here are some patterns which others have found useful").

User–system interaction: influencing interactions between a user and the system
Target behaviour Example Some relevant patterns
S1 The user follows a process or path, doing things in a sequence chosen by the designer Customer places order via website without missing out any steps Mazes, Positioning, Interlock, Tunnelling & wizards, Implied sequences, Serving suggestion
S2 The user follows a process or path that's optimised for those particular circumstances User only spends as much time as really needed in the shower Conditional warnings, Did you mean?, Are you sure?, Task lock-in/out, Tailoring, Possibility trees
S3 Decision among alternatives: a user's choice is guided Diners choose healthier meal in office canteen Defaults, Opt-outs, Kairos, Simulation & feedforward, Colour associations, Prominence, Proximity & grouping, Similarity, Decoys, Do as you’re told, Expert choice, Framing, Scarcity, Anchoring, Forced dichotomy
S4 Only certain users/groups of users can use something Only users who know PIN can access bank account via ATM Coercive atmospherics, Who or what you are, What you know, What you have
S5 Only users already behaving in a certain way get to use something If a driver's travelling below the speed limit, the next set of traffic lights turn green, otherwise they stay red Degrading performance, Threat of injury, Threat to property, What you can do, What you’ve done
S6 No users can use something in a particular way, regardless of who they are or what they've done before Park bench fitted with central armrest to prevent anyone lying down Feature deletion, Hiding things, Choice editing, Matched affordances, Coercive atmospherics
S7 Users only get functionality when environmental criteria are satisfied Office lighting cannot be switched on if ambient daylight adequate Interlock, Where you are
User–user interaction: influencing interaction between users and other users, mediated by the system
Target behaviour Example Some relevant patterns
U1 Multiple users are kept separate so they don't affect each other while using a system Traffic follows one-way system into/out of car park Material properties, Converging & diverging
U2 Users (and groups of users) do interact with, and affect each other while using a system Staff from different departments mix socially in a building's atrium Converging & diverging, Make it a meme, Provoke empathy, Reciprocation, Social proof, Peerveillance
U3 Users can't block or dominate a system to the exclusion of others Wide pedestrian concourses prevent groups blocking passage for others Segmentation & spacing, Peer feedback
U4 Controlled rate of flow or passage of users Visitors to popular museum exhibit routed past it slowly on moving walkway Conveyor belts, Roadblock, Slow/no response
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