Interaction Foundry — Developing behavioural interventions to support local sanitation

Behavioural Design, Design Research

The Interaction Foundry aims to understand the psychology of behaviour in design contexts such that interventions can achieve their desired outcomes. Our work in 2020 focused on using theories of behaviour change to improve public health outcomes. We developed interventions for improving handwashing amongst low-income communities in Tanzania, and for reducing littering in dense urban environments.

Human behaviour affects how we interact products, systems, and services. As such, behaviours are important to consider throughout the design process as it can reveal the underlying insights that drive people to engage with a design solution. One way of understanding behaviours is behaviour setting theory. It explains how environments can affect people's behaviours - from the physical design of a space to how people occupy that space and use objects within it.
The Interaction Foundry wanted to test Behaviour Setting theory and therefore developed a canvas that can be used within the design process to understand the causal factors of behaviours. This canvas allows designers to add or remove behaviours from a setting, reinforce existing behaviours, or develop new and targeted settings.
We tested the canvas within low-income communities in Tanzania - where hand washing rates were typically low - and found that design intervention developed from the canvas significantly improved hand washing rates in the area. We also used the canvas with the charity Keep Britain Tidy to develop communication strategies that could reduce littering in city context. And lastly, we developed a cross-department module for Imperial College London that focused on behavioural design - using the behaviour settings canvas and other tools developed within the research group.
Dr Weston Baxter
Edward Brial
Behavioural Design Research
Data Analysis

Improving handwashing rates amongst low-income communities in Tanzania.

The Interaction Foundry completed a study in Tanzania that used a Behaviour Settings approach to improve rates of hand washing. The study used the behaviour settings canvas to identify opportunities for design interventions, and from that developed single-use soap tabs. We tested the use of soap tabs within different communities to understand if adoption was more significant in comparison to soap bars. I collaborated with a researcher in the team to organise and analyse the raw data to understand any patterns present. From our work, we found consistent use of the soap tabs within some communities, which proved the effectiveness of a behaviour settings approach towards design.

Reducing littering in cities

We consulted on work to develop anti-littering design interventions for charity Keep Britain Tidy. We used the behaviour setting canvas alongside, analyse city context and from that, conducted an extensive review of behavioural science literature and littering studies to identify behaviour change methods relevant to the setting. Using this research, we developed a final package of 17 design interventions covering a variety of approached including communication campaigns, product design packaging, and sensory experiences. The solutions target motivations as well as injunctive, descriptive, and social norms as mechanisms to deliver behaviour change.

Developing Imperial's cross-department behavioural design module

We worked with Dr Weston Baxter to develop materials for his new module, Design for Behaviour Change. We developed materials and assignments for the module, as well as final project examples. I specially developed a workshop for the module based on Psychological Ownership theory, and developed a new ownership mapping tool that can be used within the design process to identify opportunities for intervention.