If you were trying to identify the factors that could explain why a given online health intervention works, its efficacy may be attributed to source credibility, ingenious tailoring algorithms, argument quality, the vividness of imagery used, fear appeals or how audiences relate to the communication style. All or some of these factors may account for the intervention’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness; however, when trying to describe interventions, there is no comprehensive way of conceptualizing the many factors, nor a universal taxonomy of influence effects appropriate to the design of online behavioural change interventions.

This paper discusses problems faced by planners of real-world online behavioural change interventions who must select behavioural change frameworks from a variety of competing theories and taxonomies. As a solution, this paper examines approaches that isolate the components of behavioural influence and shows how these components can be placed within an adapted communication framework to aid the design and analysis of online behavioural change interventions. Finally, using this framework, a summary of behavioural change factors are presented from an analysis of 32 online interventions.

Read the full paper: CUGELMAN, B., THELWALL, M. & DAWES, P. (2009) Communication-Based Influence Components Model. Persuasive 2009. Claremont, ACM.