7 August 2011

Designing for a workforce that acts more sustainably

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Gerd Waloszek
In a six part article series Gerd Waloszek of SAP User Experience [who is very inspired by Nathan Shedroff’s latest book ‘Design is the Problem’] approaches the topic of the sustainable behavior of a workforce from a designer’s point of view.

Part 1: Action fields for designers
In its efforts to make the behavior of its workforce more sustainable, SAP addresses the following focus topics (which are action fields for designers): (1) commute and travel, (2) energy, resource, and waste management (including paper management), and (3) organization of distributed teams (including social aspects).

Part 2: Action items for designers
Based on the three fields defined in the first article, Waloszek identifies possible action items for designers – particularly user interface (UI), user experience (UX), and interaction (IxD) designers: (1) the design of information and communications technology (ICT) solutions for remote collaboration, and (2) persuasive design or technology. He then steps back to identify the sustainability aspects, as defined by Nathan Shedroff (2009), in which designers can have an impact. Combining action fields with sustainability aspects, he collects four possible action items.

Part 3: Designing for remote collaboration and communication
Waloszek now discusses the first action item in more detail: ‘designing for remote collaboration and communication’.

Part 4: Using ambient media to support awareness of remote colleagues
In this article, Waloszek looks at the second of the four action items: “using ambient displays for supporting the awareness of remote colleagues” – which he interprets more broadly than just visual information. The article therefore refers to ambient media rather than ambient displays.
> Examples and proposals (in progress)

Part 5: Using persuasive design/technology
In this fifth article in the series, Waloszek looks at the “using persuasive design/technology” action item – which is the third of four action items he identified for designers. We will see that, on the one hand, this item competes with other approaches aiming at improving sustainability, and on the other hand, that it can also complement these approaches.

Part 6: Replacing physical objects with virtual (digital) ones
In preparation – To be published in August 2011.

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