I attended the Persuasive 2014 conference at the University of Padova, Italy at the end of May. The conference gave me the opportunity to hear from the people who have been at the leading edge of PT research for the last decade or more. I also attended the Doctoral Consortium to present my PhD proposals and gain some feedback. All in all an enlightening and engaging experience.
The conference started with a keynote speech from Paolo Pedercini and ended with a speech from Sebastian Deterding. I found both the presentations more than a little thought provoking. Perdercini’s examples of how media such as games can be used in a disruptive way offering users a chance to reconsider their perspective, or videos that challenge us to dissect commercial messages. Deterding pushed me, and maybe many others in the audience, to think beyond the functional application of PT and consider the morality of persuasion and confront the ethical and indeed political dimensions that are inherent in gamification.
Between these two bookend events I found that the work of the Leeds Behaviour Lab was re-enforced by many calls for a user centred approach to PT developments, and by many advocates for careful insight gathering and iterative development. It was notable that a number of speakers observed that the reports from the PT community focussed on how to measure the success, possibly overlooking what could be learnt from examining the failures with more vigour. But then that may have been my personal filter in operation as I sought to find encouragement for focussing my research on attrition.