Latours Key: A hotel keeper conducting persuasive design

Latour offer us this physical example of persuasive design (see: BIJKER, W.E. and LAW, J., 1994. Shaping technology/Building Society : Studies in sociotechnical change. 2. ed 1994 edn. MIT Press.) He describes a hotel keeper who feels distressed that his guests do not turn in room keys when they leave the hotel. The hotel keeper finally resolves the matter by altering the design of the key chain itself – by means of persuasive design. Making the key chains heavier and bulkier, he successfully induces the behavior of turning in the keys. Since guests do not want to carry the large key chains around, they are persuaded into exhibiting the behavior that the hotel keeper aimed for: they turn in their keys. This is done via the design of the key chains itself (see example below), not orally or by making a sign that says, “Please turn in your key.” The non-textual argument posed by the artifact is embedded in the key chain itself making it a persuasive design. The reasoning is conveyed in the usage of the object – in the user experience of the key chain. At the same time the user maintain the right to choose, if you wan’t to bring the key chain with you it is still possible.

Latours key chain designed persuasively to infuse the behavior of  turning the key in to the hotel keeper | Persuasive Design @

Example of “Latours key chain” designed persuasively to infuse the behavior of turning the key in to the hotel keeper. The user still has the option to bring the key if he or she really wan’ts to, but the design tries to persuade you to hand it in.

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