Incorporating behavioral theory in design ideation for changing sustainability behaviors

Aysha Alwazzan, G.M. Mejía, Yumeng Xie, Daniel Fischer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademicpeer-review


As design research develops, theory is increasingly available for designers. However, there is a limited understanding of how practitioners incorporate theory in activities such as ideation. This exploratory study aims to understand how novice designers respond to and incorporate theory in the ideation phase of the design process. A theory from behavioral economics – nudging – was introduced to the participants while ideating in problems of changing sustainability behaviors. Data collected included focused observations and interviews. Participants appeared to understand some behavioral theoretical concepts, which can be explained in the current pervasive use of human-centered approaches. While there were some mixed initial responses to the theory in terms of its ethical implications, all participants found the theory was useful to support and enhance their ideation. This study shows that designers are more confident with and appreciate theory when they can clearly see that theory supports their design process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventSynergy - Design Research Society International Conference 2020 - Held online
Duration: 11 Aug 202014 Aug 2020


ConferenceSynergy - Design Research Society International Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleDRS


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