Design with Intent card deckDesign is increasingly about people’s behaviour, but this is often considered simplistically. Design with Intent aims to give practitioners a more nuanced approach to design and behaviour, working with people, people’s understanding, and the complexities of everyday human experience. It’s a collection of design patterns—and a design and research approach—for exploring the interactions between design and people’s behaviour, across products, services and environments, both digital and physical.

The Design with Intent toolkit card deck was originally released in 2010 (free download), and the Design with Intent book will be published by O’Reilly in 2016. An ‘Early Release’ version will be available towards the end of 2015: please sign up for the newsletter to be kept updated!

Design with Intent is aimed particularly at socially and environmentally beneficial behaviour change. The patterns are drawn from a range of disciplines, and are phrased as provocations to enable use as both a workshop tool, and a guide for exploring the field.

 

Design with Intent: The Book

I’m very excited to announce that O’Reilly Media will be publishing a Design with Intent book in Autumn 2016, with an Early Release version available before that. Please do sign up to the new newsletter for updates!

Design is increasingly about people’s behaviour, but this is often considered simplistically. The Design with Intent book aims to give practitioners a more nuanced approach to design and behaviour, working with people, people’s understanding, and the complexities of everyday human experience.

It will build on the toolkit, and my PhD, but also what I’ve learned over the last few years on practical research projects, with people in real contexts, around people’s understanding of, and interaction with, technology and designed systems, including SusLab, Creative Citizens, CarbonCulture at DECC and Creating Sustainable Innovation. The book will also build on examples, good and bad, from all over the world, addressing a wide range of problems and contexts, both social and commercial. It’ll cover design across products, services and environments, physical and digital (and, increasingly, in combination), and I’ll be asking for readers’ suggestions and examples for particular ideas and themes.

I’m hoping that the book will offer a more nuanced approach to designing around people’s behaviour, based on designing and researching with people rather than ‘for’ them, learning from people’s understanding of the world, and embracing the complexities of everyday human experience. As I said last year, I’m increasingly uncomfortable with how I see “design for behaviour change”, and the “behaviour change agenda”, being applied in practice, with simplistic, deterministic and individualist approaches which often seem to be about treating humans as defective components, that need to be constrained or tricked, denying variety, complexity, culture and social context. I started blogging ten years ago specifically to explore and critique the use of design to control and exert power, and that hasn’t gone away.

Writing the book is going to be a big job alongside my work at the RCA, and my plan is to blog the process to keep myself on track—partly also to get suggestions and input along the way. So please do keep an eye on the site, and sign up to the newsletter for updates. Thanks to everyone who gave me the confidence to take the plunge with this!