U-FADE: A Unified Approach To Persuasive Systems Development

U-FADE: A Unified Approach To Persuasive Systems Development

Isaac Wiafe (School of Technology, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcssa.2013070102
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Although persuasive technology continues to impact behavioural and attitudinal interventions, research has demonstrated that existing design approaches are faced with limitations that impede their effective use. Mostly, they become obsolete, as user needs change during the use of the persuasive application. This research therefore proposes the Unified Framework for Analysing, Designing and Evaluating persuasive systems (U-FADE). The proposed framework integrates concepts from various existing models to provide a systematic approach that facilitates persuasive design. It addresses the issue of changing needs of users by considering external and internal activities that may promote or impede persuasion before and during implementation.
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Persuasive Technology (PT) is the application of computing technology to intentionally change a user’s attitude or behaviour to a predetermined one. It combines the positive attributes of interpersonal interaction and mass communication to achieve optimal persuasion. It aims to accommodate individual differences during persuasion: a situation which is not commonly characterised with mass media persuasion (Harjumaa & Oinas-Kukkonen, 2007). Amidst the benefits it brings to behavioural and attitudinal change interventions, current research has demonstrated that there is lack of methods for its design (Oinas-Kukkonen & Harjumaa, 2008; Torning & Oinas-Kukkonen, 2009). Consequently, most of the existing persuasive technology applications do not follow systematic processes during the design phase. As an attempt to remedy this situation, models such as Persuasive Systems Design, (Oinas-Kukkonen & Harjumaa, 2009), the Behaviour Wizard (B. Fogg & Hreha, 2010), the Persuasive Tool Kit (Saidin, 2011) and the 3-Dimensional Relationship between Attitude and Behaviour model (Wiafe, Nakata, Moran, & Gulliver, 2011) have been introduced. Yet they fail to provide some of the relevant information needed for designing PT applications. Mostly, they do not consider the changing needs of users, hence PT applications that employ these methods become obsolete as user needs change.

To address this limitation, this paper presents the Unified Framework for Analysing, Designing and Evaluating persuasive systems (U-FADE). The framework expands the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model to include the 3-Dimensional Relationship between Attitude and Behaviour (3D-RAB) model. It also incorporate key concepts from the Functional Triad (B. J. Fogg, 2002) and the Behaviour Wizard (B. Fogg & Hreha, 2010) to provide steps that can be followed to develop persuasive systems.

In the next section, an overview of the framework is presented. This is followed by a discussion of the various components of the model and how they are applied during analysis and design. Lastly, a discussion is presented on the implications and benefits of using the framework as compared to existing methods.

Overview of the Framework

As already mentioned, the Unified Framework for Analysing, Designing and Evaluating persuasive systems (U-FADE) borrows it key principles and concepts from existing PT models and frameworks to formalize PT design process by addressing changing needs of users during persuasive interventions. Fundamentally, it argues that it is proper for PT designers to consider their designs as part of a system rather than a technology since persuasive applications would be more effective when they operate together with other activities that also aim at changing behaviour. It is made up of five steps. These steps are: analysing the persuasive event, selecting the persuasion strategy, identifying the system features needed to promote persuasion, developing and implementing the persuasive system and evaluating the success of behaviour change (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

A unified framework for analysing, designing and evaluating persuasive systems


Although the foundation of the framework was based on the Persuasive Systems Design model, it did not consider the first step in the PSD model (understanding of the key issues behind persuasive systems) as part of it. This is because each of the seven postulates in PSD is considered in at least one of the steps during analysis. Although it is necessary to acknowledge it, it creates redundancy during design when presented as part of a framework and may confuse novice designers. In particular, U-FADE attempts to provide steps that are simple to use for both experienced and novice designers by offering tools that can be used at each stage during analysis and design. Below is a discussion on the various steps and proposed tools in the framework.

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