Increase motivation through good design principles

humanCominteractionStudies on interaction design have brought about a significant understanding on the motivations of people and how it can be applied to create usability. Usability is a method of design that puts the user at the heart of design. It aims to provide an simple, useful and familiar interface. Good design reduces cognitive efforts, increasing motivation and promotes empowerment. We are cognitive misers and we thrive on simple information that is easy to reach. When interacting with a digital interface, we are attracted to strong visuals and words.

Motivation is the creation of desire and the ability to carry out tasks willingly. Good interaction design relates to incentive theory. It is the promise of reward, after the occurrence of an event. Positive association are formed if the feedback is quick and its iterative nature will ensure that it transforms into a habit. Reward helps to enforce a certain behaviour rather than punishment, which does the opposite. Therefore, there is a need to design interfaces which are easy to learn and use, so as to provide an enjoyable user experience. Simple design also help in the maintenance of arousal. There has to be an optimum level of arousal for sustainable motivation. The following principals demonstrate good content mechanism and creation.


This is the provision of content and instructions that are clear to the players. Players are able to see what needs to be done through the interface, with minimal need for instructions. Create content that is simple, useful and familiar.


Players should be able to map an instruction to a desired outcome, and it should take context into consideration. Asking a detailed question ensure clear follow up and response by the player. The provision of an “Accept challenge” button are clear indicators of a call-to-action to the players.


This is an indicator of successful completion. Gamification promotes this through the awarding of badges and points for task completion. Feedback also serves as a point of reflection, to point out when players make a wrong move. Providing iteration encourages learning, strengthening retention and recollection of knowledge. Feedback is like a form of operant conditioning, a method of learning for success and iteration for errors. Example, content for a repeatable challenge can allow the player to keep going till success. Repetitive action results in retention of knowledge.


There is a need to have constant flow, to align players to the goals of the game and organization. Storytelling and the provision of good content provides this consistency.


A well-thought of design should not overwhelm players. It should “afford” players with a path to move along. It is the creation of motivation. Making content easy-to-follow increases motivation to play a game.


These are the limitations impose on the players. Providing scarcity and unpredictability actually increases a player’s desire to play and do. Abundance creates a familiarity that would be taken for granted. Locking a level create dissonance that stir uneasy emotions in players, increasing motivation to complete a game. Constraint also make content simple and not overwhelming.

keep it simpleMotivation is the self-efficacy of a person to engage in voluntary actions. It is action without the need for a carrot. Gamification taps on the motivations of a player to create engagement. The above guide goes well with the Gamification framework of Yukai Chou, an international Gamification keynote speaker and a partner of Enterprise Gamification Consultancy. He developed a Gamification Octalysis to explain various drivers that ignite motivations. Adopting good design principles and Gamification techniques allows for the creation of good content that strike the motivations of players.


This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.

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