Design Engineering
Showcase 2020

Dyson School of Design Engineering

Interaction Foundry
Dr Talya Porat
Behavioural Design Intern
Technology, Media and Telecommunications

The Interaction Foundry is a research group and consultancy that works at the intersection of behavioural science and design theory and methodology. I was a Behavioural Design Intern at the Interaction Foundry where I developed a workshop, a new website and a set of anti-littering design interventions. I did not expect to complete a research-based placement; however, I feel that it has been a positive experience. I now have a robust understanding of behavioural design, an area that I was looking to explore, and I can now confidently explore further intersections of design engineering with social-science and public policy.

 — Dyson School of Design Engineering

Demonstration of Design Engineering

A behaviour settings approach to littering:

My main project during the placement was to use the Interaction Foundry’s framework of behaviour settings to develop a set of anti-littering design interventions that can be used within future anti-littering campaigns. The process had three key phases: research, ideation, development. Since the interventions were grounded in behavioural design research, I had to conduct an extensive review of behavioural science literature and littering studies to record and analyse the various mechanisms of behaviour change that were present. This process was followed by iterations of the Foundry’s Behaviour Setting Canvas, which was used to contextualise my research within different settings. The canvas then informed my first set of ideas that were then reviewed and developed to create a final package of 17 design interventions that could be applied within public streets setting. Following this, I collaborated with an IDE student to develop an animated video to promote the behaviour setting canvas as a public design resource for different project stakeholders.

 — Dyson School of Design Engineering
The Interaction Foundry's behaviour setting canvas that was used to contextualise research.
 — Dyson School of Design Engineering
One of seventeen anti-littering design intervention that uses scents to induce a cognitive representation of a clean environment.
 — Dyson School of Design Engineering
One of seventeen anti-littering design interventions that used recognition of street cleaners to strengthen social norms and induce feelings of guilt.

Developing the module ‘Designing Interventions for Behavioural Change’:

I collaborated with four other students from Imperial to help Dr Weston Baxter develop his new module, ‘Designing Interventions for Behavioural Change’. My contribution to the project consisted of 3 main tasks: creating a psychological ownership workshop, developing the group assignment, and creating examples of those assignments. From the project, we developed a novel module structure, driven by student insights, which will be taught entirely remotely. From my work in developing the psychological ownership workshop, I also created a new ownership mapping tool based on Weston’s previous work, that can be used as a foundation for the development of future resources within the Interaction Foundry’s work on Psychological Ownership.

 — Dyson School of Design Engineering
A miro canvas showing the Psychological Ownership workshop that was created for the module ‘Designing Interventions for Behavioural Change’.

The New Interaction Foundry Website:

I independently led the design and development of the new Interaction Foundry website. Through frequent reviews with Weston, I was able to understand the needs of the Foundry and develop prototypes. I designed various wireframe mock-ups as well as refined iterations, which were evaluated by Weston. I then created the final website using Squarespace and CSS. The new website should serve as a valuable asset to promote the Interaction Foundry’s resources within the years to come.

 — Dyson School of Design Engineering
Wireframes mock-ups that were used to develop the new Interaction Foundry website.
 — Dyson School of Design Engineering
The homepage and about page of the new Interaction Foundry website.
 — Dyson School of Design Engineering
Examples pages showing how the Interaction Foundry's expertise will be laid out.

Tanzanian handwashing study – data analysis:

The Interaction Foundry recently completed a study in Tanzania that used a Behaviour Settings approach to improve rates of handwashing. The study tested the use of soap tabs within different communities to understand if adoption was more significant in comparison to soap bars. I collaborated with a researcher to organise and analyse the raw data. This involved searching for duplicates, accounting for errors, and understanding the patterns in the data. From our work, we found consistent use of the soap tabs within some communities, which proved the effectiveness of a behaviour settings approach towards design.

 — Dyson School of Design Engineering

Role and Contributions

The Interaction Foundry was looking to develop a set of design tools and resources to help different stakeholders integrate behavioural design into their practice. My work throughout the placement was to develop design outputs and create promotional materials that would allow the Foundry to expand its reach. Since I had a Design Engineering background, I was able to complete a diverse set of tasks that pulled from the multidisciplinary aspects of the degree. These contributions were significant because they helped build examples of work, promote the group, and crucially, save the Foundry valuable time.

My main project, which was developing anti-littering design interventions, was useful in testing, validating, and promoting the Interaction Foundry’s research. It serves as a robust body of work that will help establish a collaboration between the Interaction Foundry and the charity ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ for use within future campaigns.

My work within the Student Shaper’s project, which was developing the new behavioural design module, was crucial in planning the operation of the module in Autumn. My responsibility was to focus on psychological ownership as one of the three main elements of the module. I created a workshop on psychological ownership and I helped my colleagues develop assets such as quizzes and exercises. I also led the creation of the group project structure and organised the development of three example projects. These will be important as a point of reference since this year is the first time the module is running.

Finally, my work in leading the design, development, and implementation of the new Interaction Foundry website will be essential for the group’s effort to promote their resources and expand their reach.

Overall, since the Interaction Foundry is a small organisation and I, as a design engineer, could offer a variety of skills, I feel I had an important role within the Foundry and was able to create a tangible impact during my placement.


My advice to DE3 would be to understand that your placement is not as defining as it may seem. It’s your chance to explore, so I wouldn’t be concerned with climbing a ‘career ladder’ as such. I didn’t start the process with the intention of completing a research placement, but that’s what I did, and I found value from exploring that avenue. I can now apply my experience in different types of work, and that’s what I think is important.


No comments have been posted on this project yet.

Outdated Browser

This website has been built using some of the latest web technologies. Unfortunately, your browser doesn't support these technologies. To update your browser, please visit Outdated Browser.