Tag Archives: user motivation

gamification in UX design

Gamification Mechanics in UX: Smart User Journey.

From the very childhood people start playing games and they never really stop. Game spirit follows us in every sphere of our life revealing its facets such as challenges, achievements, or rewards from time to time. Trying to transfer game features into everyday life is a habit helping people to deal with complicated situations. Such a tendency could possibly cause the appearance of the gamification concept.

 

The word “gamification” stands for the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment. Designers often use gamification to create effective digital products and secure high level of user engagement. In one of our previous articles, we’ve mentioned common game mechanics such as challenges, points, badges, leaderboards, and journey. Each gamification element serves for certain goals and has a different influence on users. Today’s article is devoted to one of the most commonly used game mechanics called user journey. We’ll define its essence and find out how it works for UX improvements.

 

badges illustration tubik studio

PukaPal Badges

 

What’s user journey?

 

To make pleasing UX design, it’s vital to think out all the stages of user interactions. The thing is that one person may use a product for accomplishing different goals each day, even more, they apprehend the product differently every time. Designers and researchers noticed that experience and user interactions gradually evolve as people gain more skills in using the product. Such characteristics make it similar to a journey which players go through in games.

 

Considering this fact, designers come up with the idea of applying a game mechanic called user (player) journey in digital products. User journey can be defined as user’s progression stages over the time of product usage. Designers create UX that way so that people could go step-by-step through the various features and interactions which gradually change depending on users needs.

 

mobile app design tubik studio

Moneywise App

 

Let’s look at the example. A standard video game always has different levels from the easiest to the most complicated one. This way a player can adapt and easily comprehend how the game works on the easy levels and then constantly learn and make a progress. By the end of the game, a player is usually a skilled competitor who can deal with more complex tasks. If people receive difficult tasks at the beginning, they aren’t able to handle them. Or in case a game only consists of easy challenges, players will soon be bored.

 

The same works with digital goods. A product which has a simple system of interactions often attracts users with its convenience. However, if people use it for a long time and there are no changes at all, they may get bored. In case a product has an enormous amount of features at the start, they may just get lost within it. To avoid such problems, designers need to think of UX as a user journey, guiding them step-by-step to the point of achievement.

 

Stages of a user journey

 

User journey is a game mechanic which aims at making the process of interaction with a product easier and more understandable. A user feels as a real player starting the personal journey of the product usage. Designers plan different stages which a player (user) will gradually go through. Let’s look at the common steps which a user journey includes.

 

Onboarding stage

 

People who only start their journey within a product need to be actually onboarded. It means that users should be offered an introduction to the features so that they wouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake. Also, it is good to present a navigation system if it has some peculiarities.

 

Designers use onboarding tutorials in various digital products. Tutorials appear to users who launch an app or a web product for the first time helping them get oriented within unfamiliar features and controls. One more task designers need to accomplish at the stage of onboarding is user motivation. The product should be presented that way so that people had a motivation to use it more than once. That’s why onboarding tutorials need to contain short but clear info describing the possibilities of a product helping users to understand if a product can be useful for them.

 

tubik_toonie_help_screens_interaction

Toonie Alarm

 

Scaffolding stage

 

When users continue their journey, they go to the next stage of interactions called scaffolding. The step includes disclosing features progressively as the users become more experienced in using the product. Unlike the onboarding stage, users don’t get long instruction. Scaffolding is more like practical part. Users are trained to use a product proficiently, and the more they learn, the more tools (features) they receive. This stage allows users gradually learn more about a product and receive more features as far as they need to use them. Users don’t get a great number of features at once, so the interactions system won’t seem too overloaded or complicated.

 

toonie alarm UI design

Toonie Alarm

 

Progress stage

 

No matter what tasks people do, they always want to know about their progress. Providing the feedback on the results of a user journey, we can inspire them to continue. It’s a core step since people lose the enthusiasm of a beginner pretty soon and they need to be motivated to stay.

 

Some may ask what progress can be in non-game digital products? For example, a social app can notify users when they gained a certain number of new followers or friends. Meanwhile, educational applications can inform users on how much they’ve learned from time to time. All small details matter. Just tell people they achieved something and they get a dose of enthusiasm to continue.

 

blog app design tubik studio

Blog App

 

Endgame stage

 

Designers usually stop at the stage of scaffolding and progress uniting them in the endless loop, where users constantly learn and receive feedback. However, sooner or later people get bored of such patterns and may quit the product. Here is why the endpoint of a journey is also important to be thought out.

 

Endgame stage doesn’t mean that users will receive the message “Thank you for being with us! Bye-bye.” At this stage, proficient users are recognized as experts or veterans and they are usually given some privileges for loyalty. People like to be valued and they often give it right back. It’s not a secret that loyal customers are the best marketing managers for a product. New users willingly follow satisfied users’ testimonials.

 

Why a user journey?

 

User journey is a complex game mechanic which requires deep attention to details. Each stage should be carefully planned and connected to the others. Moreover, it requires long-term plans for future updates, so the process of user journey development may take a long time. Of course, some may ask if it is worth the effort to bring it into a product. Let’s see what user journey can give you back.

 

Clear interaction system. Users receive features gradually at the stage of scaffolding and users learn to utilize a product step-by-step. An approach helps to avoid problems with incomprehensible interactions and functions.

 

Increased user engagement. One of gamification principles is to make users always motivated and involved in “game”. User journey is usually full of different tasks and achievements which people can gain, so users can’t resist game spirit.

 

Customer loyalty. If a product is constantly improved for its users, people really appreciate it. Moreover, if a product has some privileges for loyal customers, people trust it more.

 

Product recognizability. As we said above, satisfied customers are effective marketers for a product. Users willingly share their pleasant experience and it won’t stay unnoticed.

 

The element of fun. As any other game element, user journey is a good way to bring an emotional aspect to a product. People always need some kind of recreational activity so that they could escape from everyday routine for a bit. By adding the fun element into a casual product, you help people reduce some stress and relax for a moment.

 

Animated stickers mood messenger design tubik

Animated stickers for Mood Messenger

 

All in all, we can say that user journey is an effective method for UX improvement. However, a designer and a client should consider the fact that gamification works well not for every product. It depends on a type of an interface, its target audience, and business goals. For more detailed information, check our previous article where we’ve defined the tasks which gamification helps to accomplish and don’t miss the updates on gamification in UI coming soon.

Recommended reading

 

Gamification by Interaction Design Foundation

42 Rules for Engaging Members Through Gamification: Unlock the Secrets of Motivation, Community, and Fun

Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.

Gamification: Designing for Motivation


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

user motivation design

Two Types of User Motivation: Design to Satisfy.

No doubt, every designer — as well as any creative person — wishes to make something desired by lots of users, preferably on a regular basis. There is a group of creators who claim that they are interested in the process or the fact of creation and don’t care about the further life of the product, still, it’s incredibly tiny if compared to the number of people who want to see the results of their creative work usable, useful and regularly used. One of the key factors to achieve this goal is knowing the final users and ways to motivate them. So, today let’s take another little journey to the psychology of users, this time concentrating on types of motivation and their influence on design solutions.

 

What is motivation?

 

Basically, motivation is the term coming from psychology and dealing with behavior. This concept describes something that makes people do particular actions giving specific reasons for these actions or needs. Motivation is the force that gives people motives, defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as «something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act». According to professor of psychology J. Nevid, «The term motivation refers to factors that activate, direct, and sustain goal-directed behavior… Motives are the «whys» of behavior — the needs or wants that drive behavior and explain what we do. We don’t actually observe a motive; rather, we infer that one exists based on the behavior we observe.» (Nevid J., Psychology: Concepts and applications. 2013)

 

Motivation appears on the crossroads of biological, cognitive, social and emotional factors, that all together influence its strength and behavior it stimulates. Three basic features which could describe the motivation of any kind are the following:

  • Activation — the decision to activate the particular type of behavior, often stimulated by formulating a particular goal or achievement
  • Persistence — the power of effort which is taken in short-term or long-term perspective to achieve a particular goal
  • Intensity — the level of concentration and desire applied by a person to achieve the goal

 

Why is it important for designers to understand the types and mechanisms of motivation? Because it shows the direct way how to make the product correspondent to users’ expectations and solving users’ pains. The product, which is designed, can be extremely helpful, but to learn that, the user should be motivated to try. And design, being the part of the product, which is both functionally and emotionally appealing, is the first and powerful way to give a user the reason to try the app or website.

 

UI design product management

 

Two basic types of motivation

 

There are two major directions of how motivation evolves and they deeply influence the decision-making process. In short, they are based on what is the source when «Why would I do that?» appears and encourages us to act: some of these reasons come from the outer world while the others are found inside ourselves. On that ground, psychologists define extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

 

Extrinsic motivation

 

This term unites the group of factors that come from outer sources. These motives can come from family, professional environment, competitions, contests etc. The motives of this sort encourage the person to deal with the outer world of other people as there is no other way to achieve the particular goals. It means that they involve the diversity of social reasons as well as stereotypes. Cultural background, age and gender, level of education, country of residence, religion and family status — these and many other factors can form and correct the reasons coming from outside and motivating people to communicate and behave this or that way. In the vast majority of cases, extrinsic motivation is a seek of reward, which can be tangible (money, prizes, diplomas, certificates, trophies, medals etc.) and intangible (praise, support, recognition etc.). The situation of competition itself presents the strong extrinsic motive: some of us are more motivated with not the prize we get but purely with the understanding that we won the others. Moreover, this factor can become even stronger in the case when there is direct support from others like friends or followers.

 

These factors should be the object of thorough research for UX designers as they actually present the doors opening the digital products to the world. The motivation via rewards has been widely used in all the kinds of games — without it for many users, a game usually doesn’t make sense — it should present the real goal which is achievable and stimulates persistence in the process of getting it. The wide invasion of the internet technologies and social networking added the element of constant competition with others strengthening the power of outer sources of motivation.

 

However, this mechanism of attracting and retaining users is applied in the variety of digital products now, including those which are far from games in their traditional understanding. When you are marked as the most loyal customer or are promised to be given a discount in case of the particular purchase; when you get the certificate via the online educational platform of which you can boast to you friends via social networks; when you are marked as the top writer or top contributor on the blog platform, and so on so forth — all that stuff presents the signs of extrinsic motivation. And that’s not bad: that’s just the way to make specific activities reasoned, which is crucial for most users. The trick is to find which reason works for this particular audience.

 

snake battle app UI design

Snake Battle App based on the extrinsic motives of winning the battle and getting rewards

 

Intrinsic Motivation

 

This is another side of the coin: that set of motives and stimuli comes out from the inner world of the person. These are the motives which are formed by the wishes and needs the person has due to its intelligence, soul, and heart. These are the motives which can be much harder to find and understand, but much longer to work successfully.

 

Intrinsic motivation is the inner engine moving a person to self-improvement whatever it could mean. In fact, people are born with this need and wish, which gets the higher level of development when the person satisfies basic needs like food and shelter and goes to the next stages in the hierarchy of needs. It’s natural for us to wish trying new things, to accept new challenges, to try our own abilities and gifts, to feel satisfaction from getting new knowledge and mastering new skills. This type of motivation is often stronger than the previous as it comes from what nature the person has and what personal likes or dislikes move decision-making process. In everyday terms, we often call this type of motivation «interest» or «desire» which becomes a significant factor for retaining users. And it’s a well-known factor that the simple explanation: «I do it just because it’s interesting» is one of the strongest motives which can only exist. It moves the user to act because of the subject of the activity itself rather than reward or recognition.

 

underwater world encyclopedia design tubik

Underwater World Encyclopedia based on intrinsic motive of getting new knowledge

 

wedding planner app UI design

Wedding Planner based on the intrinsic motive to optimize personal effort in organization of the event 

 

toonie alarm UI design

Toonie Alarm combining intrinsic motive (getting up on time) and extrinsic motive (getting stickers as rewards)

 

Getting the knowledge about target audience at the stage of user research, designers can analyze which types of motives and which their combinations will work for the specific users.

 

Intrinsic_extinsic_motivation_by_IDF

 

The visual presentation of two major motivation types by experts from Interaction Design Foundation 

 

Building motivation with design

 

Knowledge on the mechanisms of motivation can become the great help for UI/UX designers and information architects. The advantage of providing appropriate motives for the target audience can be applied at the levels of:

— thinking over the clear application or website structure and organization of triggers and informational blocks supported with rigorous user research

— building navigation and call-to-action elements according to things which engage users motivating them to act

— creating appropriate layout demonstrating key benefits or rewards

— providing supportive onboarding process motivating to try the product and test its functions

— presenting visual design solutions appealing to the target audience and adding the motive of aesthetic satisfaction

— including the copy which stimulates users, describes the key benefits of the product, the achievements users can get and support available in the process of interaction

— adding the features of setting short-term and long-term goals

— enabling users to share their achievements via various social networks — approval and praise of virtual communities is the powerful extrinsic motive nowadays.

 

user motivation design

Upper App using the mechanism of intrinsic motivation to boost users’ productivity

 

The bottom line is simple here: if you want users to like and use your product, give them a reason to love it. They will start their journey with «Why?» and will repeat that question regularly at different levels of interaction — so get prepared to show them the answer.


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance