If you’ve ever seen me do any version of a talk on motivational design, you know I’m skeptical about the utility of badges for engagement. It’s not that badges are a bad tool. It’s that they get misused. Programs may award a badge for the wrong behavior. Or the badge may encourage cheating and shortcuts to get the reward. Or, while a virtual badge rarely carries any real value, it might be too much reward for the behavior, eventually leading to lower engagement levels. So, I was surprised to see that an effort to award scientists digital badges displayed alongside their publications in search results was gathering momentum. Continue reading Why Do Scientist Badges Work?
I was never a big gamer, but I did become obsessed with the original NES The Legend of Zelda as a kid. On top of the hours I spent playing, I also avidly consumed any article in my brother’s Nintendo Power magazine related to the game. I remember talking with people about rumors about hidden levels in the game (true), and how to find the Blue Ring. The Internet wasn’t a thing yet or I’m sure I would have been on Zelda message boards. Zelda was the first game I remember that really created an imaginary universe with engrossing challenges and a sense of infinite possibility. As an adult, I look back on the game as an artistic masterpiece (albeit in 8 bits) and an accomplishment in design psychology. Continue reading It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! The Legend of Zelda and Fundamental Needs
Continuing the thread of year-end wrap-ups that press the levers of motivation (see my post on TripAdvisor here, and Blue Apron here), I wanted to share the year in review that I found the most inspirational of all, from MapMyRun. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with MapMyRun; it was the first program I ever used to log my running data, and they don’t make it easy to export, so even though I’ve come to like other running programs better, I stick with MapMyRun for data’s sake. Yes, I am neurotic. Continue reading The Motivational Mojo of MapMyRun’s Year in Review
At the end of the year, a number of different programs and services I use sent me “year in review” type overviews, similar to the one from TripAdvisor I wrote about earlier this week. In terms of motivating ongoing interaction with the program or service, they vary in efficacy. One that did a pretty good job at reinforcing a sense of competence came from Blue Apron, the weekly cooking subscription service. Continue reading Cooking with Competence: Blue Apron’s Year in Review
Previously I wrote about the awesome job TripAdvisor does in designing a motivational experience for its users. In particular, I claimed that TripAdvisor is outstanding at fostering a sense of competence. They provide tons of feedback about how many reviews you’ve written, how they break out into categories, who’s reading and liking them, and how you can achieve increasingly greater tiers of reviewer glory on their platform. A TripAdvisor reviewer always knows what he or she has accomplished and how to do the next bit more. Continue reading Case Study Update: TripAdvisor’s Ongoing Competence and Relatedness Support
BJ Fogg talks about “hot triggers,” the design equivalent of a big shiny red button that you just can’t help but press. The hot trigger is a call to action that is immediate and easy. By making the commitment of time and energy low, and making an action easy to take, a hot trigger helps overcome the need to have high levels of motivation to get someone to do something. Fogg talks about hot triggers in terms of those ubiquitous emails from Facebook letting you know you’ve been tagged and allowing you to see the photo in question with just one click; I wrote about them with respect to similar emails from LinkedIn. Hot triggers can be very powerful when they work, but as I’ve recently experienced, sometimes they can backfire. Continue reading Case Study: Ipsy’s Hot Trigger Hot Mess
Self-determination theory, at a high level, would predict that giving people choice is a good thing. Giving people the opportunity to choose seems like it would be a great way to support a sense of autonomy. But research also shows that too much choice makes people unhappy. They may struggle to choose, feel less satisfied with their eventual choice, or even opt out of the choice entirely (Iyengar, 2010). And that’s not even getting into issues of individual preferences around choices. Continue reading ” Goldilocksing” on Choice: How Much Is the Right Amount?
This week, the resignation letter of a special education teacher in Florida has gone viral online. Through my friends and relatives who are teachers, and eventually others who read the letter and were moved to share it, I’ve seen it many times in my social network feeds in the last few days. Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D., decided to resign her teaching post after giving birth and realizing that she felt a sense of dread thinking about her new daughter attending the schools in which she teachers. In her letter, she writes: Continue reading Wendy Bradshaw’s Resignation: In the Absence of Competence Support
Google is famous for its Doodles, the time-relevant interactive features it posts on its search page for holidays and historic events and anniversaries. They’ve used Doodles to commemorate events as diverse as Sally Ride’s 64th birthday, American Independence Day on July 4, and the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express. Last week, naturally, the Doodle celebrated Halloween with the Global Candy Cup, a simple video game that was not only cute and timely, but motivationally sound. Continue reading Case Study: Google’s Motivational Trick or Treat
I wrote my first TripAdvisor review after my trip to Turkey last year. We found a restaurant near our hotel for dinner and liked it enough to return for a second meal. Each time, our waiter practically begged us to review them on TripAdvisor once we got home, and even gave us a business card with a specific call to action to write the review. It seemed that businesses in Turkey (and, I came to notice, in many other international locations) rely on TripAdvisor to drive tourists to their establishments. So, when I got home, I penned the review and a few others for places we’d really liked on the trip. Continue reading Case Study: How TripAdvisor Supports User Competence To Motivate Reviews