The last post looked at how medical product design can be done in such a way as to motivate the user to prefer one product over another. Motivation also comes into play during the use of the product in that we are motivated by progress, mastery and control. Small signs of progress can have a big effect. Providing feedback is especially important here. As they manipulate the product, provide signals that let the user know that they are progressing along the right path.

The closer we get to a goal, the more motivated we are to continue. One study, for example: people were given frequent buyer cards for a coffee shop. Some cards required 10 stamps to get a free cup. Other cards required 12 stamps but two stamps were already on the card. In both cases, subjects needed to get 10 stamps but those who got cards that already had progress toward the goal filled up their cards faster.

The closer we are to a goal, the more we focus on what’s remaining and the less we think about what has already been accomplished. And the more we focus on what’s left to do and not on what’s already been done, the more motivated we are. This creates a positive feedback loop. For devices or instruments that involve step-wise tasks, emphasizing how many steps remain until completion provides more effective feedback than does emphasizing how many steps have already been completed. The user will be more engaged and their engagement will promote a positive user experience, which will encourage a feeling of intuitiveness.