Investigators: Dan Lockton, David Harrison



Design for Sustainable Behaviour

Commenced: September 2007

Various techniques allow the characteristics of a product's use phase to be influenced in favour of increased sustainability or reduced environmental impact. In purely technological terms, increased efficiency of operation is clearly a major goal, yet it may also be equally and independently important to reduce or otherwise to alter the period or manner of the product's use, and that means changing users' behaviour.

This research centres on investigating techniques for using 'Design with Intent' to change users' interactions with products and systems, so that they are used in a more environmentally friendly manner (reducing energy use, reducing waste generation, and so on). Methods of achieving this range from 'hard' coercive constraints (technology which 'refuses' to be operated in a certain manner) to 'softer' psychological constraints which encourage or persuade the consumer to use the product in a different way. The field lies at the intersection of technology and human factors, with the limits of any approach's impact being determined by both technological and interaction design issues.

Aims include: developing a 'toolkit' method for selecting techniques, useful to environmentally sensitive product designers, interaction designers and engineers working on future products and systems; and testing practical implementations of some of these techniques, in consumer electronic products, to determine their effectiveness at achieving the target behaviour.

More details:
Dan Lockton's research blog (regularly updated):



Electronics Manufacturing Renewables Design


Brunel University

Cleaner Electronics Research Group 2008