Designing Campaigns for Behavior Change
Thesis title: “Designing for Behavior Change: Identifying Design Components that Encourage and Empower Individuals to Act in Environmentally Responsible Ways”
For my master’s thesis project at Carnegie Mellon, which I worked on during 2010–2011, I wrote and designed a book, called a "Roadmap to Behavior Change." The roadmap is meant to help designers and organizations who are creating campaigns for environmental issues. It includes observations and practical tips people can use when designing for environmental issues, from my own research and from existing literature, as well as a set of ethical principles that should be followed when designing for behavior change.
Find out more on my blog! http://jennysthesisproject.wordpress.com
Update: I will be presenting my roadmap to behavior change at the International Institute of Information Design’s greenID forum in Vienna, Austria on July 1.
Many designers today are creating communication materials that encourage individuals to change their behavior related to environmental issues. The problem is that people are often unaware of existing research on effective methods for these communications. For example, environmental psychologists have studied best practices for creating persuasive communications for several decades.
During this yearlong master’s thesis project, I conducted my own research studies, exploring how the emotional tone and medium of a communication piece affect a person’s decision to change his or her behavior. I had two main goals during this project.
1. To explore answers to these questions:
How does the medium and delivery of information affect viewers’ understanding of the effects of their behavior on the environment?
How does the emotional tone of a communication design piece enhance its persuasive effect?
2. To point designers toward resources that should enable them to design more effective campaigns for behavior change. Although I was especially interested in bridging the knowledge gap between design and environmental psychology, I also looked at insights from the fields of cognitive psychology, decision sciences, and persuasive technology.
I hope that my work will help designers use communication to empower individuals with knowledge, encouraging them to begin and sustain a journey toward positive behavior change.