Saturday, April 17, 2010

Intentional design – 101 behaviour-influencing patterns

As a techie, I need all the help I can get when it comes to designing things, don’t you too?

Without further ado, I strongly recommend that you skip over to Dan Stockton’s new Design with Intent site and download the version 1.0 draft of his design pattern cards.

Also be sure to read his blog post announcing the release of thepackofcards2[1] cards.

He talks about gambits -- “the 'repertoire of tricks' that experienced designers (and architects) are able to bring to bear on a problem, drawing from chess terminology” -- and patterns, and puts forward eight “lenses” to use as a way of grouping the 101 cards according to different kinds of disciplinary 'worldview' or fields of research:

The original idea was that an architect might approach influencing behaviour by instinctively proposing ideas from the Architectural lens, an ergonomist by using ideas from Errorproofing, and so on. But in fact this is a very loose taxonomy and a number of the cards would fit happily in other lenses. It is more of a convenience grouping than anything rigorous, so please don't take it too seriously. It's the gambits or patterns themselves which are more important.

I find this all very interesting, especially the Machiavellian Lens (right up my alley), which:

… comprises design patterns which, while diverse, all embody an 'end justifies the means' approach of the kind associated with Niccolò Machiavelli. These will often be considered unethical, but nevertheless are commonly used to control and influence consumers through advertising, pricing structures, planned obsolescence, lock-ins and so on, and central to much work by authors such as Vance Packard and Douglas Rushkoff revealing the 'hidden' structures which shape our everyday behaviour.

So go and download the PDF (you can download them all in a single PDF if you prefer), and note that Dan is looking for feedback to help improve his draft. Let me know what you think of the 101 patterns.

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