Integrating ethics into design for sustainable behaviour
journal contributionposted on 17.10.2013 by Debra Lilley, Garrath Wilson
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Consumer behaviour contributes significantly to society's impact on the environment. Through products, designers can shift user behaviour towards more sustainable patterns of consumption, bridging the intention-behaviour gap between values and everyday actions. Design for sustainable behaviour (DfSB) aims to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of products by moderating users' interaction with them. DfSB strategies have been categorised on an 'axis of influence', which correlates increased product control with a corresponding reduction in user interaction and choice. The process of designing for sustainable behaviour has been modelled within existing literature, yet these models fail to account for, and fully integrate, inherent ethical considerations. This paper presents a design process model with corresponding ethical assessment tools that may better equip designers to influence consumption patterns without compromising users' autonomy and privacy, thus bridging a gap in current knowledge.