changing lifestyles

changing lifestyles


    Goal: Understand how your product’s design (not marketing) can change user behavior to improve sustainability, and why persuasive design requires ethical responsibility.


Most people want to be good people: healthy, helpful, and leaving the world a little better than it was before. But most of us also have a hard time doing that. As designers, we can change user behavior towards more sustainable lifestyles: dropping throwaway consumerism in favor of sharing, maintenance, and reuse; walking or biking instead of driving; turning off lights, etc. For example, the average European has roughly half the environmental footprint of the average American not because of better engineering, but because of lifestyle: living in multi-unit housing close to work and shops radically reduces the car trips, road infrastructure, building energy, and building material per person.

How can you change your user’s behavior? Persuasive design is the art of making your product’s user interactions nudge people in a desired direction. This can be subtle or powerful, and requires ethical consideration to ensure you’re helping your users, not hurting them. Here are three videos showing:


  • Potential benefits of persuasive design.
  • Strategies for increasing the user’s ability to do the desired behavior.
  • Strategies for increasing the user’s motivation to do the desired behavior. 


Introduction to persuasive design



Persuasive design: Ability



Persuasive design: Motivation



You can also download a PDF summary of the videos above in the following Autodesk Quick Reference Guide.

Autodesk Quick Reference Guide


Many people have created resources for persuasive design. They have different taxonomies to categorize persuasive design strategies, but the best strategy for you always depends on your product, user, and specific context.  Here are some great sources:



All VentureWell Tools for Design and Sustainability content is shareable and usable by CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

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