Abstract

This paper focuses on the use of nudging in the design of consumer goods. This perspective is different from most existing nudging literature, which tends to focus on nudging as a tool for policy makers. The change of focus to consumer goods has some implications in relation to existing classifications of nudging, namely that the nontransparent aspect of some types of nudges becomes less relevant. Instead this paper introduces a distinction of the nudging ability of a product as decisive or non-decisive for a purchase decision. This dimension is combined with a dimension from an existing framework to produce four distinct types of nudges in relation to the design of consumer goods. Through 12 examples, the paper demonstrates the relevancy of these four types of nudges. Finally, with a basis in the proposed framework, the paper discusses how designers/producers of consumer goods should proceed from here, and possible ethical ramifications of using nudges in design are highlighted.

Keywords:

Nudging; Industrial design; Consumer goods; Design ethics; Design activism

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

A Framework of Ethical Nudges in the Design of Consumer Goods

This paper focuses on the use of nudging in the design of consumer goods. This perspective is different from most existing nudging literature, which tends to focus on nudging as a tool for policy makers. The change of focus to consumer goods has some implications in relation to existing classifications of nudging, namely that the nontransparent aspect of some types of nudges becomes less relevant. Instead this paper introduces a distinction of the nudging ability of a product as decisive or non-decisive for a purchase decision. This dimension is combined with a dimension from an existing framework to produce four distinct types of nudges in relation to the design of consumer goods. Through 12 examples, the paper demonstrates the relevancy of these four types of nudges. Finally, with a basis in the proposed framework, the paper discusses how designers/producers of consumer goods should proceed from here, and possible ethical ramifications of using nudges in design are highlighted.

 

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