People wish to change their behaviour in many contexts: Eating less chocolate, taking the bike instead of the car or consuming fewer resources. But reaching those goals is often not easy, as people lack self-control or more broadly motivation.
Design can help to overcome barrriers and to motivate people to achieve their aims. Transformational Products try to help people to achieve self set goals. We understand them as “materialized arguments” – dialog partners and mediators and not educators or watchdogs. Thus, their general design assumes that people have an “inner wish” to change, that is, to transform themselves.
The Shower Calendar
The Shower Calendar is a “persuasive” concept for reducing the consumption of water for showering. It offers a way to foster awareness of water consumption and communication among family members. This ultimately has the potential to result in behavioral change.
A field study with two families (6 individuals) revealed that the Calendar fosters goal setting, comparison, competition, and communication. In addition, quantitative data showed one family to have been more successful in translating the Calendar’s offer into actual behavior change, i.e., saving water. This highlights that change is not achieved by the product itself (as in automation or regulation), but by the people involved.
Laschke, M., Hassenzahl, M., Diefenbach, S., and Tippkämper, M. (2011). With a little help from a friend: A Shower Calendar to save water. In Proceedings of the CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing, New York. ACM Press.