Context Behavior

Lens: Type: Behavior
Context Behavior:

The conditions within a specific context.

Photo: immrahulp
an outdoor concert with fireworks

Contexts aren’t static—conditions within them change. Sometimes, these conditions are physical, such as weather-related conditions and noise levels. Conditions can also be intangible, such as political uprisings, celebrations, or a zombie attack. While contexts are comprised of things like people, resources, and non-human actors that interact within them, a context’s behavior can change, affecting all those inside the setting. To design outcomes that will effectively support activities in different conditions, designers must consider not just what a context is but also ways it can behave.

Context-specific characteristic aspects.



Location Laws Size: Context Non-User Actors Available Resources


Climate Sensory

Researching Context Behavior

Designers who research a context’s behavior discover what conditions take place in different settings. Because conditions in a setting can be widely different from time to time, defining conditions helps designers know how to design products, services, and systems that will work in harmony with conditions and, for some cases, resist these conditions.

Questions to Ask About Context Behavior

  • What are the possible conditions that could take place in this context?
  • What are the “normal” conditions in this context?
  • What extreme conditions could take place in this context?

Look for These When Researching Context Behavior

  • Weather conditions
  • Socially-caused conditions

Context Behavior Examples

Election Day in Schools: An elementary school gym is typically filled with children playing games, but on an election day, voting machines line the gym and citizens enter the school to cast their votes.

Power Outage in Summer: The power is out in the building and it is getting very hot because the air conditioning is not working. Normally, the temperature in the building is cool enough where people can wear business attire and not sweat profusely.

City Streets: Normally, people walk through city streets to get to work and to shop, during a block party, the streets are shut down to car traffic and people have parties, during political upheaval, people may throw bottles and burn cars in protest.


References and sources that support the inclusion of this Aspects of Experiences for Design component.