Exploring and communicating user diversity to inform the design of products promoting sustainable behaviors

Coşkun, Aykut
Promoting sustainable behavior through design has become an important and a relevant research area for the design community. As very few designers really know and very few design schools teach how to do this, any research in this field would provide guidance. Aimed at such guidance, this thesis proposes a method for exploring and communicating the diversity in users’ orientations towards sustainable behaviors, an important but ignored topic for behavior change and sustainability. This method involves determining the dimensions of user diversity by using the theory of planned behavior as a theoretical framework, grouping users based on these dimensions through cluster analysis and constructing a diagram which visualizes identified groups in terms of their distribution in a sample, their relations to each other as well as recommendations for influencing their behavior. This process is illustrated with a user study on eco-friendly driving, which revealed that the proposed method can help design researchers systematically explore user diversity for promoting sustainable behaviors and communicate this diversity to designers in an inspirational way. By combining the results of this study (user orientations) with a set of strategies achieved through synthesizing behavior change strategies from the literature, this thesis also offers a design tool to help design practitioners, researchers and students in generating solutions promoting sustainable behaviors. It investigates this tool's potential impact on idea generation through series of design workshops conducted with Middle East Technical University (METU) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) students. This idea generation study showed that the proposed design tool is promising for helping designers in developing solutions promoting sustainable behaviors.
Citation Formats
A. Coşkun, “Exploring and communicating user diversity to inform the design of products promoting sustainable behaviors,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2015.