Title: Challenging interfaces are more fun! Operant conditioning for the interaction designer

Authors: Ingrid Sorgendal; Casper Boks

Addresses: Department of Product Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Kolbjørn Hejes vei 2b, 7491 Trondheim, Norway ' Department of Product Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Kolbjørn Hejes vei 2b, 7491 Trondheim, Norway

Abstract: Since 2010, gamification of interfaces has been a growing trend in interaction design, creating fun and compelling interfaces that increase user motivation and involvement; in some cases, even modifying user behaviour. However, critics point out that gamification is not suited for all applications; and being a new interaction design method, there is probably a potential for improvement of the method. This review article provides an analysis of gamification in terms of operant conditioning, suggesting that gamification is based on mechanisms described by behaviourists as operant conditioning; and that a better understanding of the latter provides the interaction designer with tools to create better and more accurate gamified interactions, as well as motivating and compelling interfaces without the use of game design elements.

Keywords: interaction design; user experience; operant conditioning; behaviourism; learning theory; psychology; interface gamification; user motivation; user involvement; user behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLT.2014.064488

International Journal of Learning Technology, 2014 Vol.9 No.2, pp.94 - 110

Available online: 27 Aug 2014 *

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