Design for reflective behavioral change

Xu, Yi, M.F.A.
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This report is concerned with using design to encourage reflective behavioral change through the use of everyday objects. Many designers have studied behavioral change in the context of sustainability and social interaction through information technology in the field of industrial design. While lacking of enough philosophical depth, those designs are mainly adopting symptom-focused approaches, which does not lead to a meaningful experience for users. The goal of the report is to create a reflective experience for behavioral change. My approach is to create a sense of situatedness, which is a holistic experience revolving around a product where designed artifacts recursively derive their meaning and is simultaneously the object of interpretation. This text will illustrate how the strategy of “playful disruption” can be applied to achieve the sense of situatedness in its three different levels: Action, Environment and Nostalgia. If the outcomes are intended to achieve reflective behavioral change, I contest that both playfulness and disruption are necessary; the strategy of “playful disruption” is most effective when applied in a subtle way. While studies of behavior change tend to focus on technology use, this research suggests that behavior change can be initiated in the physical environment through redesign of everyday objects and that subtly disrupt everyday routines.