Digital Addiction and Persuasive Design

Prof. Raian Ali
17.11.2020 14:00 to 19.11.2020 18:00
Remote lectures and exercises, independent study

Date: 17-19.11.2020

Days: Tue, Wed, & Thu: 14.00-18.00.

Hours: 4 hours daily

Credit Points: 0.5-2
Contact person:


Digital media usage can be problematic and described by properties like being compulsive, excessive, obsessive and hasty. It can be associated with negative life experience such as procrastination, preoccupation, decreased physical activities and interrupted sleep. Such ‘digital addiction’ (DA) can relate to more profound personal and contextual factors. Still, digital media design can be argued as one of the contributors through its persuasive elements such as notification, personalised content and peer pressure facilitation. Simultaneously, there is an unprecedented opportunity that the same medium of the addictive experience plays a role in the solution space. We can design digital media to monitor usage and deliver persuasive prevention and corrective strategies in a personalised, real-time and intelligent style. In this course, we will discuss the concept of DA and the role of digital media design in triggering problematic usage and, at the same timple, helping to regulate it. 

Course Objectives

The course will consolidate skills in the analysis of DA and the role of technology in both triggering and regulating it. The course aims to

  • introduce the concept of DA, its latest definitions and approaches to handling it
  • elaborate the different facets of user experiences characterising DA
  • discuss the role of persuasive technology design in triggering DA and facilitating it
  • discuss the role of persuasive technology in combatting DA and helping self-regulation

Learning Outcome

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • discuss and critically analyse the concept of DA
  • critically examine persuasive elements in the digital media that contribute to triggering DA
  • create socio-technical persuasive solutions to combatting DA
  • raise and debate professional and ethical issues in the area of technology design and DA


  • Lecture 1: DA: Definitions and Foundations
  • Lecture 2: Approaches to combat DA
  • Lecture 3: Fear-based DA
  • Lecture 5: Escapism-based DA
  • Lecture 4: Self-regulation and DA
  • Lecture 6: Online Peer Support Groups for DA

Mode of delivery

Remote lectures and exercises, independent study


Last updated: 23.9.2020