How to Identify and Trigger a Motivation Wave


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How to design for hard health behaviors in your products!

Published in: Design

How to Identify and Trigger a Motivation Wave

  2. 2. What is a motivation wave?A framework from BJ Fogg that describes a person’snatural change in their motivation throughout a day All credit to Dr. BJ Fogg,
  3. 3. Why does this matter?You want to take advantage of your users’ high motivationsso you can trigger them to do harder behaviors that willhelp them later! All credit to Dr. BJ Fogg,
  4. 4. The question is..How can we identify if auser of our service is in ahigher motivation wave?
  5. 5. The answer..Send them test triggers for progressively harder behaviors!Each star represents a trigger for a harder behavior.High / HardMotivation /Difficulty ofBehaviorLow / Easy Time
  6. 6. What is a trigger?A trigger is a reminder, a call to action, somethingthat tells the user to ‘do the behavior now!’ For example: - a post-it note on my desk that reminds me to call my parents! - a text notification on my phone from a friend - placing a full water bottle on my desk triggers me to drink more water
  7. 7. What does this all mean? I need an example!Lets say your mobileapp’s goal is to helpnaturally lazy peoplefinally get off thecouch and becomemore fit.Your target behavior isfor your users to go Photo credit: BigGolfoutside and walk for30 minutes.
  8. 8. Different types of usersIf you send them areminder to go walkfor 30 minutes, some ofyour users will do itbecause that is easyfor themBut others won’t bemotivated enough to Photo credit: cabbitget off the couch and How can you help thesedo it... unmotivated users do the target behavior?
  9. 9. The answerYour users will naturally have low motivationthroughout a normal day, so you need to build uptheir motivation throughout the day with littlesuccesses.These little successes for easy behaviors givesthem increased motivation (and the ability to doharder behaviors!)
  10. 10. First, trigger them to do a VERY easy behaviorSend them anotification throughyour app at thebeginning of the day:“Remember to grabyour running shoes!” Photo credit: BigGolf
  11. 11. The resultSucceeding at this simple behavior gives them a feeling ofsuccess, increasing their motivation for harder behaviors High / HardMotivation /Difficulty ofBehavior Grab shoes Low / Easy Time
  12. 12. Next, trigger them to do a little harder behavior Later in the day, send them a notification that says: “Figure out a time in your schedule today that you can walk for 30 minutes!” Photo credit: s.o.f.t
  13. 13. The resultSucceeding at this slightly harder behavior continues toincrease their motivation for later, harder behaviorsHigh / HardMotivation /Difficulty ofBehavior Schedule it in Grab shoesLow / Easy Time
  14. 14. Finally, trigger them to do the target behavior! Send them a final trigger: “Remember to take your 30 minute walk! Congratulations on making progress toward your goals :)” Photo credit: Ktoine
  15. 15. The resultBy working them up throughout the day with smallsuccesses, you were finally able to get a lazy user to walk!High / Hard Walk for 30 min!Motivation /Difficulty ofBehavior Schedule it in Grab shoesLow / Easy Time
  16. 16. This isn’t fail safe though!Sometimes, your users mightnot even start with enoughmotivation to do the firstbehavior!- so start with an easierbehavior next time!Or something bad thathappened in the day mightdemotivate them! Photo credit: Bryan Gosline- they realize they have toomuch work to do
  17. 17. What this would look like on the graph Realize they are too busy!High / HardMotivation /Difficulty of Later trigger fails!BehaviorLow / Easy Time
  18. 18. But, this is a starting point!
  19. 19. TRY IT OUT! And let me know how it goes :)If you think this will help YOUR friends, send them this link! Email me at: