Saturday, September 30, 2006

Motivating others: why "it's good for you" doesn't work

Motivating users to perform the desired outcome ...

"What matters is what they do when the clicking stops." That was the central theme in the New Media Interaction Design courses I taught at UCLA Extension (Entertainment Studies dept). We all want to motivate our users (customers, learners, kids, employees, members, etc.), but motivate them for what? What do we hope they'll do when they stop clicking/listening/reading? More importantly, how do we make it happen?

Question 1: What do we want our users to do?

And no, we don't get to say, "know more." That's not an action. "Like us more" is not an action. Even my favorite, "kick ass" is not an action. How many people take a course in Design Patterns and then go right back to work and write the same clunky code, reinventing the flat tire? How many customers interact with a web app and then... just leave? How many people say they care deeply about a cause, but do nothing beyond bumper-sticker activism? How many people listen to a lecture on the dangers of smoking, but keep smoking?

There is nearly always an action (or set of actions) you're hoping users will take, and most of you already know what that is. But we also know that this sometimes involves a change in behavior, something that's extremely hard to do. So it's really the next question that matters more:

Question 2: How do we motivate them to do it?

That's where broccoli and optimism come in (I promise I'll get there in a moment).

We all know we can't simply slap motivation on another person. All we can do is design an experience to help them motivate themselves. If we get them to spend time on our web site, and they have a good experience, but then leave without doing anything--and never come back--does it really matter that they had a Good User Experience? Is a good experience an end in itself, or is it a means to something else? For much of what we design, what matters is what happens when the clicking stops (or for many web apps, just before the clicking stops).

So, we really have two levels of motivation... motivation to interact and motivation to do something as a result of that interaction. Motivation to interact is something we've talked about quite a bit here... things like the flow state, levels/superpowers, spiral experience design, painting a compelling picture with clear steps to getting there, blah blah blah. This post is about inspiring post-interaction action."    (Continued via Creating Passionate Users)    [Usability Resources]

Motivating Users - Usability, User Interface Design

Motivating Users


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