The role of choice in influencing behaviour

In designing physical spaces like stations, airports, hospitals and stadia we are always interested in how we can get people to go where we want them to. We need them to know where they are going, to have their ticket ready, etc. But the fact is we know, as human factors experts, that it is difficult to stop people doing what they want to do.

So we were interested in this article looking at why apps designed to change behaviour failed to do so:

Perhaps there are a number of challenges.  Clearly we need to avoid removing choice and pushing people in a certain direction.  We’ve all had wayfinding experiences where we “just want to get over there” but there is a barrier in the way.  We need to make use of existing behaviours rather than trying to impose new ones.  We need to really understand what people want and make sure we design to meet those needs ahead of the needs of the owner or operator – they will probably find their needs are met too!



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