Behavioral product strategist and gamification designer. This is my public hypertext notebook, sharing my thinking in motion at various stages of development.


Satisfy the social contract between the user and the app

This is about optimizing for User Involvement within the context of what the app can do. The user needs to exert effort into making the app work for their needs, and the app needs to reduce the effort required and make the effort worthwhile. The social contract between the user and the app tends to work best when the app is transparent about what user involvement is necessary so the user can make an informed choice that they internalize as self-motivated.

This is worthwhile to the app because Designing for user involvement creates a virtuous cycle of usage.

Ask yourself-

  • What is the user expecting us to do for them?
    • What is influencing those expectations?
    • Are those expectations reasonable given our constraints?
  • What are we expecting the user to do with the app?
    • Do the users share those expectations?
    • How might we influence those expectations?
  • How can the app and the user provide each other value so their interests are aligned?

If you’re successful in this and the user understands their role in goal achievement, then the user won’t blame the app when they experienced a Failure state and they are more likely to try again. They’ll recognize what it is they have to do and what it is the app has to do.