In a previous article, I introduced 5 tools for effective behavioral design. These included motivation/ability matrix, triggers, routine/ritual mapping, rewards, and flow/challenges. In this post, I will sketch a behavioral design using these tools.
Using the collaboration workflow as an example, let’s sketch a couple of concepts on "reviewing a design online" workflow. Our manager persona is used to offline meetings, annotating drawings with red pen, and arguing, negotiating, and simply hustling over a design proposal in a closed loop of his team. He is hesitant about the idea of online collaboration and opening the floor to the whole company. How might we introduce a design tool that helps him change his reviewing habits and make them more fruitful and effective?
Figure 1. Manager Persona likes his traditional ways of collaboration
We can start with our persona. What are the motivation and ability issues for him? We might assume that he doesn’t have huge ability issues since reviewing online is a low barrier skill.
How can we increase his motivation to adapt to this new behavior? Motivation, according to Dan Pink, depends on autonomy, mastery, and purpose. How might we increase his motivation, touching one of these dimensions? Autonomy is about sense of control, whereas mastery is about sense of achievement, and purpose is about the desire to pursue meaning in a specific situation.
The Motivation/Ability Matrix can be used as a mapping tool to identify possible collaboration motivators. Seeing that his suggestions are heard and implemented by co-workers will be a motivator for the user so he can feel the sense of achievement. If he is appreciated and mentioned in the final design, he is purposefully part of something bigger than his daily workflows. Finally, if he has the ability to edit and delete any of his comments in the collaboration platform, he would feel in control.
Figure 2. Being heard and complimented helps him to feel a sense of purpose and being part of a community
Motivation provides intrinsic dimensions to influence our behavior design, but how about external motivators? We can think of triggers and rewards that might address one of the three dimensions. For instance, use of points, levels, and completion rates might be good rewards and keep the user invested in the product. We might then introduce a collaboration mastery path and a collaboration currency within the product, where the user gets more points and levels as he collaborates more.
We also need to be careful about rewards. The user can easily fall into boredom once he has routinized the rewards. Rewards in the long term should lead to a flow experience, where the user gets challenges that balance ability and motivation.
How do we situate triggers and challenges in our personas’ daily workflows? This brings us to our routine/ritual mapping tools. Based on user engagement, the designer can organize participatory design sessions with the user, map their daily routines, and dive into any rituals. Using a white board, post-its, and big sketch-pads are useful for mapping activities. You can easily dig into routines as they have lower barriers. They tell us when he works solo, collaborates, takes breaks, etc. Once we know more about these, we can then decide on the type of the triggers, their frequency, and their interval. For example, the designer realizes that our persona uses his commute time to check what others are doing in the company via his smart phone. Such an insight is valuable to consider when and how to nudge our user with triggers such as push notifications or embedded posts within their feed.
Figure 3. Collaboration currency and mastery path increases the engagement
Rituals are a bit different; the designer needs to dig deeper with “why” questions, and identify where the user invests his precious time and attention. It helps understand what he really cares and values. We may find that he really values one-to-one interactions in collaboration over online encounters. For him, design reviews are ritualistic: how he uses his red pen, the way people listen, and the way he passes back and forth comments blended with both seriousness and humor. This might be a strong insight for the designer to inform his design. He may come up with the option to have real-time collaboration meetings within the suggested tool and even suggest a virtual red pen be passed between the participants to annotate things over the screen.
As illustrated here, behavior change tools bring more fruitful and deeper insights about users and why they may or may not be adapting to certain behaviors we have designed into products. These tools are complimentary to each other and in certain contexts one tool needs more priority than others.
- Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Riverhead Books (April 5, 2011)