A Review of Four Persuasive Design Models

A Review of Four Persuasive Design Models

Kristian Torning
DOI: 10.4018/ijcssa.2013070103
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This paper reviews the emerging persuasive design models by systematically analysing their robustness by employing common design criterions from the tradition of design science i.e., Information Systems (IS), User Centred Design (UCD) and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Light is thus shed on the relation between the persuasive design models that claim to offer advice in regards to persuasion and robust design guidelines from more mature fields of research. The results of this comparison can be used when selecting models for designs, in addition to concurrently serving as an offset for creating new models or improving existing ones.
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When designing objects to persuade users of a certain behaviour or attitude change, most designers are left with their common sense. The fledgling research area of Persuasive Design (PD) (Redström, 2006) is relatively unknown outside of its limited research community. PD is centred on the concept that humans may delegate the act of persuasion to non-human entities, deliberately seeking to change or reinforce behaviours and attitudes (Torning & Oinas-Kukkonen, 2009). Persuasion can be used in multiple domains; in observing how Aristotle, Cicero and other modern scholars (Dillard & Pfau, 2002) describe persuasion, it becomes evident that ‘persuasion’ is not the automatic result of certain steps engaged in by an individual. On the contrary, persuasion is a complicated and somewhat unpredictable social process tied to the rhetorical situation in which persuaders seek to persuade (Bitzer, 1968; Torning, 2008; Vatz, 1973). In the field of PD, the topic of ‘health’ has especially attracted particular attention (Chatterjee & Price, 2009; Kamal & Fels, 2012; Torning & Oinas-Kukkonen, 2009). Problems such as alcoholism, obesity and lack of exercise all provide a multitude of interesting research questions, since their singular real remedy lies in individuals changing their behaviour patterns and remaining consistently motivated towards maintaining the behavioural change thus initiated (IJsselsteijn, de Kort, Midden, Eggen, & van den Hoven, 2006; WHO Regional Committee for Europe, 2008).

In addressing such problems, we are facing several issues that are more a matter of communication and the active persuasion of new behaviours rather than supporting existing ones. Typically, designers (and researchers) have used PD to address several health educational issues. Some examples of PD would be: a computerised doll designed to teach adolescents about the consequences of not using birth control (B. J. Fogg, 2003; Realityworks, 2010); teaching women in rural India about their menstrual cycle and personal hygiene (Parmar, Keyson, & deBont, 2008); changing office workers' sitting habits in order to prevent back strain (Obermair, Reitberger, Meschtscherjakov, Lankes, & Tscheligi, 2008) and designing kitchens that promote calorie-awareness cooking (Chi, Chen, Chu, & Lo, 2008). It is interesting to note that these studies were conducted by researchers, who were not specialists in the field of communication, i.e., rhetoric, and they do not allude to the area in their work.

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