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


User Involvement

Imagine purchasing a gym membership in order to lose weight or grow more muscular. Having a gym membership is not enough on its own! In order to successfully accomplish that goal, you would need to work out regularly on the right muscle groups. You might have a higher likelihood of success if you participate in exercise classes or hire a personal trainer. Your outcomes are shaped by your own behavior in the gym.

User involvement is defined by the set of user behaviors that lead to experiencing desirable outcomes. If the user's behaviors help them accomplish their goals in using your product, then they have successfully been involved. Improving user involvement enhances the utility of the application through changes in user behavior. The design of your product influences the way users interact with it and their level of involvement. This is illustrated further in The goal of game design is to influence user behavior to create an intended experienceThe goal of game design is to influence user behavior to create an intended experience
See Mark Brown's brilliant video on protecting the player from themselves Game designers recognize that they can't just design a game and expect the player to enjoy it. If you play Xcom in a risk-averse way, then you won't have as much fun as if you lean into risk and play aggressively. However, the rules of the game and its feedback systems shape the most likely playstyles.

See: Progress monitoring and feedback systems
See MDA: A Formal A...

User involvement is necessary because value creation is a two-way process. In the gym example, the member's involvement in co-creating value is akin to user involvement in a software product. Whether or not we Satisfy the social contract between the user and the appSatisfy 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 becaus...
depends on whether we can facilitate that involvement, because the product can't unilaterally provide value to the user upon purchase.

High user involvement means that you've won over your user. They stay loyal to your product for longer, they buy new products you develop, and they speak highly of the product to their friends and contacts. This is sustainable because you have found the way your product fits into user’s lives. With high quality user involvement, people are using your product when it is useful for them. Designing for user involvement has positive effects on adoption, retention, and viralityDesigning for user involvement has positive effects on adoption, retention, and virality

The most successful app adoptions come from a project because that gives users the motivation to learn functionalities in the context of when they are useful and persist through failures. Adoption requires a baseline of user involvement in order to overcome inertia. Designing for user involvement allows you to Speak to the user with a shared vocabulary. People design their own experience in an app through their actions, so designing for User Involvement early on means that the user...