Touchpoints - persuasive design for sustainable and healthy behaviour

Social demand for sustainable and healthy behaviour is high, but design and communication bureaus lack the knowledge to design products and campaigns that can encourage people to adopt healthy and sustainable behaviour. There is a yawning gap between the knowledge of behavioural scientists and the application of this knowledge by designers. Touchpoints! gathers and shares knowledge about when and how a product or service can bring about actual changes in behaviour.

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Touchpoints! is a project that brings behavioural scientists and communication bureaus together. Together, they work on subjects that lead to human behaviour that is truly healthier and more sustainable. They collect and share knowledge about when and how a product or service can bring about actual changes in behaviour.


One of the results has been the development of the ‘Persuasive by Design’ model. This model enables designers to assess and improve behaviour-changing concepts, to set up research based on target groups and to better evaluate the choices that they have made. In a series of sessions focusing on designs in the field of saving energy and mobility, the model has been tested in practice. A nice example of an American study that demonstrates how smart design can influence behaviour was using a crisps tube in which portions of yellow crisps are separated by a single red crisp. In trials, this design resulted in subject consuming 50% fewer crisps.

In the TouchpointsLab students from the HU University of Applied Sciences can get involved in Touchpoints research projects. The TouchpointsLab was launched in February 2014. The lab is intended to become an incubator where education, professional practice and research come together to exchange knowledge and to assimilate and apply the latest insights in the field of behavioural change. In the period of time to come, the lab will take shape via master classes and workshops given by Touchpoints researchers; a physical space where graduates can work together; and networking opportunities with Touchpoints partners. The students work at one of the two research groups from the participating knowledge centres - Communication & Journalism and Technology & Innovation (PubLab or Codesign).

Students in (among others) Communication & Multimedia Design at HU University of Applied Sciences will work on a range of graduation assignments, such as further developing the ‘Schijf van Vijf’ (‘Disc of Five’) for the Nutrition Centre.

Duration of the case study


Partner institutions

The Co-Design and Cross-media Communication in the Public Domain research groups are working together in this project. In addition to the communication bureaus, the Association of Dutch Designers (BNO) and SMEs are also involved, as well as the Delft and Eindhoven universities of technology and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The HU University of Applied Sciences is the project leader. The project is part of the development of the Centre of Expertise for the Creative Industry.


Innovation Alliance Foundation, Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, several SMEs, HU Centre of Expertise Creative Industries.