Positive Reinforcement

A Complete Guide to Positive Reinforcement in UX Design

What is Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is a concept that includes the addition of a reinforcing stimulus after a particular kind of behavior. This increases the chances of that behavior occurring again in the future. If the outcome from that action is positive or rewarding the behavior will be strengthened.

Confusing much? Let me explain! Take the renowned behavioral psychology experiment as an example. In this story of classical conditioning, Pavlov rewarded his dog with a ring of bell whenever he salivated. He associated the ring of the bell with the act of salvation and was able to form a habit by doing so. The mechanism behind this was also positive reinforcement.

Let me give you another real-life example. You see a person walking through with their hands full, and you open the door for them. This action of yours will result in an immediate appreciation by saying “thank you”. Such affirmation will work as positive reinforcement, and it will be more likely for you to open a door for someone in the future, expecting praise or appreciation in return.

In a nutshell, positive reinforcement is the act of encouraging behavior by rewarding it. Accomplish a sales target and get a raise or do XYZ for a positive outcome (reward). It also plays a vital role in designing a UX of a website. Top-rated web design agencies pay attention to this aspect during the design and development phase. Hence, it’s important to ensure the affordable web design services in New York you have selected implements positive reinforcement in the design.

Positive reinforcement vs Negative reinforcement

All of us have experienced an example of positive and negative reinforcement as a child. Imagine, your parents want you to get an A on that math test in school. If you do so, you’ll get the new iPhone as a gift. This is an example of positive reinforcement. The child is motivated to get an A, due to the reward that will be given to him as a consequence of that action.

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On the other hand, you’ll have to fold the laundry for a week if you don’t get an A on that test. In this scenario, you are motivated too, but only to eliminate a negative consequence. This is an example of negative reinforcement, where you are not getting a reward for your action but you are compelled to do it only to remove an undesirable outcome.

Application in UX Design

Now that we have a crystal clear explanation of what’s positive reinforcement and what isn’t, let’s talk about its implementation in UX design. Positive reinforcement is generally used in websites or mobile apps to encourage engagement by giving the user a satisfying experience. You’ll do this by the interactions on your platform. Whenever a user takes an action, reward them. This will not only help in strengthening their behavior but increase their confidence too.

For example, let’s say that you have to submit a complaint form in which you have to mention all kinds of details. This was this long thing that you just got done with and pressed the button “submit”. The status changes to sending, and then the tab then disappears, leaving you hanging in the air. You may feel worried or anxious about whether your form has been submitted or not. Chances are that you’ll fill the form and submit it again, just in case, and the cycle will repeat itself. Now imagine if there could be a message that would confirm your submission like, “your message has been sent, thank you!” or “Thank you for submitting feedback, we’ll get back to you soon!”. Or by simply turning the button to green as a positive indication, the feelings of anxiousness and stress could be eliminated.

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Take the examples of some eCommerce stores. When a customer adds a product to their cart, they are rewarded by some celebratory emoticons or similar gestures. This will create a pleasant feeling and even encourage them to shop more from the same website.

Small examples of positive reinforcements can change a user’s whole experience on a platform. Give them feedback and reward them to strengthen their confidence. Be precise and very clear with your feedback.

In conclusion, the mechanism behind positive interactions is positive reinforcement. Every interaction between the user and your platform can and will determine their experience. Now no one’s telling you to display pop-up messages, congratulating them on each of their actions, but to optimize some of the key processes with positive reinforcements. Taking the help of a reputable web design agency, such as Map-it Inc. can help in this regard, as they have experts on board who can guide you in establishing a positive reinforcement.

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