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I'm looking for examples or research that either proves or disproves my theory that showing a person goals and the rewards persuades them to reach those goals.

What I have is an application where a user will have predefined goals, from 0-100%, and at certain milestones they get rewards. For example they may get rewarded at the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% milestones. I'm thinking that showing all the milestones and their rewards would be better than just showing the very next milestone (and its reward) alone.

I'm really looking for any research or books that cite research done on this. I've read a couple books from Cialdini, but haven't come across exactly what I need yet.


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Hey Brian
Cialdini is a great writer on persuasion, but I think what matters the most is the mental model and motivation of each user to achieve the goals.
I suggest you to do a short study on user's motivation and collect some factors to proceed on this.

From an academic perspective - Students have a list of assignments for the semester with related deadlines. Each could be seen as a milestone or steps toward the goal of completing the course successfully.
Academic lore (and I am sure there is research on this) is that having many assignments and posting student grades so that they can keep track of their grades does help to motivate some students.
Along with this is the comparison to the class with only a final grade. Students may not know how they are doing until the course is over. High anxiety and high drop rates.
Great analogy, Suzi. It's progressive disclosure at its best, in the same way that a progress bar shows how much time you have remaining.

In Cooper's, "About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design", he talks about how considerate products keep us informed, but without pestering us. An example he cites is the bartender who "...posts his prices in plain sight and....writes on the chalkboard what time the pre-game party starts." It's what we expect without having to click.

Understanding your user's underlying goals is essential. Look at your personas and determine if showing all of the milestones and associated progress is going to satisify the primary persona's goals. Some of your users might have a different overall end goal, such as getting certification vs. taking a refresher course. Check Chapter 5, of About Face where he talks about user's goals and motivations.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the responses, but I think I didn't explain it very well. What I have is a weight loss web service. The user can set goals, say 20 lbs, and that goal can then be broken up into milestones, say every 5 lbs. So in this case, the user has a 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% milestone every 5 lbs. With each milestone they reach, they get rewarded with cash or points or other incentives.

From a usability perspective, the current next milestone and its reward is the only one the user truly needs to know. So if the user has already lost 6 lbs, the next milestone is 50% and its reward could be a $10 gift card. They don't need to know the 75% or 100% rewards because that info isnt relevant yet (progressive disclosure).

What I'm asking is, from a persuasion perspective, would showing all the milestones and rewards (instead of just the next current milestone) produce a higher goal completion percentage? Some research I've found seems to suggest it could. I'm referring to the endowed progress effect, but that only states that by giving the person a "head-start" they would be more likely to finish. I think this technique could also be applied, but it still doesn't answer my question.

Hey I have done a same website liek this...check out http://www.projectfat2fit.com/

I found a great app for you guys!
Hi! I found this app on my iphone. This book is very interesting and easy to grasp.
Check it out:http://www.crucialconversationsapp.com/.

It helps a lot to find and implement effective ways to face difficult situation.

Crucial conversations explains powerful methods to tackle crucial situation with ease.



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