Multisensory nudging: a design intervention for sustainable hand-washing behavior in public space

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Scurati, Giulia Wally; Huang, Siyuan; Wu, Siyu; Chen, Tengfei; Zhang, Yueyao; Graziosi, Serena; Ferrise, Francesco; Bordegoni, Monica
Series: ICED
Institution: Politecnico di Milano
Section: Responsible design
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


The scarce availability of water in highly populated cities is about to become a social problem. While the water service companies work on improving the distribution network in order to reduce losses, it is evident that one of the main problems is due to an excess of use of this resource by users. This consumption is relatively controlled when excessive consumption is clearly associated, in the consumer mind, with high costs. However, when users are in public places they tend to consume water because of a loss of correlation with costs. In this paper, we describe the design of a device to be installed in public environments, which aims to reduce the consumption of water. The device measures in real time the flow of water and sends the user visual and sound information trying to create a link between consumption and costs. The device has been installed in a university campus bathroom and has been tested. Test results show a reduction in water consumption, especially in the interactive prototype approach compared to the conventional treatment. Further modifications for future development of the interactive device is also discussed.

Keywords: Sustainability, User centred design, Multisensory product experience, Design for sustainable behavior, Water conservation


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