Captology and Technology Appropriation: Unintended Use as a Source for Designing Persuasive Technologies

  • Alina KrischkowskyEmail author
  • Bernhard Maurer
  • Manfred Tscheligi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9638)


In this paper we theoretically reflect upon persuasive technology usage under the light of technology appropriation. The intended usage of technology often fails, meaning that the designers’ intended use is not always translated into user behavior. This is also true for persuasive technology, since technology will always be used within a context involving users’ own intentions that may not always be anticipated by designers. This clashes with Fogg’s framing of captology, which explicitly focuses on endogenous intent, i.e., a persuasive intent that is designed into a technology. With this paper we open up an initial theoretical discourse around these two concepts, highlighting how the design of persuasive technologies can be informed by existing knowledge around technology appropriation. This is done by reflecting upon three identified ‘action points’: (1) learning from appropriation, (2) designing for appropriation, and (3) designing for personal differences and ambiguity of interaction.


Technology appropriation Captology Intentionality Unintended use 



The financial support by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development is gratefully acknowledged (Christian Doppler Laboratory for Contextual Interfaces).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alina Krischkowsky
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bernhard Maurer
    • 1
  • Manfred Tscheligi
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Human-Computer Interaction, Department of Computer SciencesUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria

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