Day#251: Intermittent Rewards in UX

Day#251: Intermittent Rewards in UX

Hey Users and welcome back to Uxergirl, a blog where we chat Research, Design, Usability and of course User experience. Today I wanted to discuss intermittent rewarding, it is honestly one o the most interesting things I have learnt about I learnt it a while ago while having dinner with someone who I really admire. I remember thinking behavioral studies like this are so interesting, but not knowing how to get into a career that would allow me to conduct interesting research like that. Don’t get me wrong Usability testing can be tedious when you are asking the same person the exact same thing over and over and cant seem tired or frustrated etc, but the love of understanding people and my passion for my behavioral science has truly guided me so far. Anyway for today we will be discussing intermittent rewarding it is as simple as it sounds, it is rewards that are released intermittently. When something becomes to easy or regular we often take it for granted, however have the reward sprinkled in between losses and you have addiction. We see this with gambling and drugs as well as toxic relationships with extreme highs and lows, people seem to think there is a pattern and that they can win and the truth is there probably is a pattern. Especially with online gambling and player profiles which can be tracked by cards it is easy to ensure that players have enough of a ratio between winning and losing to ensure they come back. In relation to drug addiction it becomes a path down a dangerous road of wanting something that has a more heightened experience and turning to more and more lethal and addictive narcotics. How does this relate to UX you may ask well watch this video first on the studies done by B.F Skinner to understand the workings of the birth of this concept in social sciences.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the pigeon studies that B.F.Skinner conducted, I wanted to start sharing how important intermittent rewarding is when it comes to UX. When creating games you will want to fine tune the User Experience to a point where Users start the game and understand the features and metrics for succeeding in the game, but then rewarding Users can not be consistent irrespective of the work they put in. Increasing the difficulty can also ensure that Users will need to put in more effort or learn more skills to be able to succeed in the same game. The act of eliciting intermittent rewarding has to be triggered from a User performing an action, it therefore can not be a mailer that has informative content on one day and then a discount the next. It may be click on this button on the mailer everytime you receive this mail and then perhaps on some occasions it is simply informative content and other times it is a reward for the user. I have noticed intermittent rewarding being used very well by a lot of Gaming Applications on my phone, triggers like simply entering the App and then being enticed by a freebie which changes in value daily are very common place on a lot of mobile games. Vodacom also uses intermittent rewards when users buy airtime or data, I have sometimes been rewarded with double my airtime valid for 24 hours and on other occasions not received any at all.

In conclusion I think intermittent rewarding can be utilized for positive results if used correctly and ethically, ensuring that you understand your users through personas and understanding how to understand their desires etc will always help with the process, happy researching until next time

Bye for now

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