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UX Mind Games: The Secrets of Addictive Digital Experiences by Stephen MacKley


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Stephen MacKley UX Director at Beaconfire RED presented at re\VISION NYC in December 2016. He talked about the most compelling digital experiences leverage psychology and game theory to ensure that users come back again and again. This session will focus on identifying these principles and applying them to your organization’s omni-channel digital experiences. Examples will be drawn from such addictive sites and apps like Facebook, Buzzfeed, Pokemon Go, Tindr, Clash of Clans, and Snapchat.

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UX Mind Games: The Secrets of Addictive Digital Experiences by Stephen MacKley

  1. 1. PRESENTED TO UX Mind Games The Psychology of Addictive Websites Steve MacKley, Dir. UX & Design 12/12/2016
  2. 2. Creating a Desired User Behavior B=MAT Behavior changes come from: • Motivation • Ability • Triggers Trigger  SUCCESS  Trigger  FAIL  Motivation Ability Based on BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model. Founder: Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford For more detail; visit
  3. 3. User Behavior in an Omni-Channel Experience B=VP.UIF.CTA? Motivation = Value Prop Ability = UI Friction Triggers = CTA CTA SUCCESS  CTA  FAIL  ValueProposition UI Friction
  4. 4. Motivation value proposition
  5. 5. Three core motivators central to the human experience. Sensation: Pleasure ⟷ Pain Anticipation: Hope ⟷ Fear Social Cohesion: Acceptance ⟷ Rejection
  6. 6. How are you presenting your value proposition to tap into these three core motivations?
  7. 7. Action UI Friction
  8. 8. A discussion of ease-of-use in UIs is a lecture series itself. Suffice to say, always strive to reduce the friction the user has to endure within your omni-channel experience. However: “ease-of-use" is not the end-all. Less than optimal ease-of-use can be mitigated by a higher motivation. Think Snapchat.
  9. 9. Triggers Calls to Action
  10. 10. Type of Triggers Spark: Low Motivation, Low Friction Facilitator: High Motivation, High Friction Signal: High Motivation, Low Friction CTA SUCCESS  CTA  FAIL  ValueProposition UI Friction *Spark *Facilitator *Signal
  11. 11. Spark Facilitator Signal
  12. 12. InternalExternal
  13. 13. External Triggers A notification or event from an outside source that prompts a user to take a specific action. • Read an e-mail message • Receive a text message • Social media posting • Advertising, SEM • Lightboxes and Interrupters External triggers don’t usually have a long tail— they need to be repeated to sustain a desired behavior change 1
  14. 14. The Awesome Power of Internal Triggers
  15. 15. What is your Best Cat Picture Ever?
  16. 16. CONFIDENTIAL 1 Some Internal Triggers • Scarcity • Social Proof • Ego Rewards • Hunter-Gatherer • Sense of Mastery
  17. 17. Scarcity
  18. 18. Scarcity triggers a innate desire to act. The less available we perceive something to be, the more likely we are to give it value.
  19. 19. How do you create a sense of scarcity, to spur your users to engage with your site?
  20. 20. Social Proof
  21. 21. Music, travel and e-Commerce services offer a social proof to show that others are engaged with their sites. Social proof becomes an implicit (and explicit) testimonial and a powerful call to action. No one wants to eat in an empty restaurant.
  22. 22. How do you encourage and leverage that I can be part of larger shared experience?
  23. 23. Hunter-Gatherer
  24. 24. The desire to search and collect is innate. Self-curated collections let the user show their ideal selves.
  25. 25. What are your users hunting for? What feeds their desire to collect? How does your digital experience allow your users to show their ideal selves?
  26. 26. Ego Rewards
  27. 27. Strava satisfies the need to show accomplishment. This incentivizes individual performance—which increases the likelihood of repeat use.
  28. 28. How does your site increase my sense of accomplishment (satisfy my ego)?
  29. 29. Sense of Mastery
  30. 30. Make easy at first, escalating challenged once engaged. Make them feel that they can level up.
  31. 31. Do you make it easy to get involved, but build a sense of mastery—leveling up—with further engagements throughout all channels ?
  32. 32. Questions Steve MacKley Dir. UX & Design Beaconfire RedEngine