Kathy Sierra on Making Users Awesome, Part 6

In the book, Badass: Making Users Awesome, Kathy Sierra analyzed and discussed the new ways of thinking about designing and sustaining successful products and services.

These are some of my takeaways from reading the book.

In this section, Kathy continues the discussion on how to help our users keep wanting to get better at a skill. We can help them move forward with two approaches.

The first approach is to remove the blocks to their progress. The second approach is to examine the elements that can pull the user forward.

To help users stayed motivated, we need to give them two things: progress and payoff.

What should we do about manage the progress? Kathy suggests that we need to describe the path with guidelines to help the users know where they are at each step.

An ideal performance path map should have three elements:

One, clear steps of progression from beginner to badass. The steps should define what we do, not what we learn.

Two, a way to assess where we are relative to the full map.

Three, a creditable reason to believe it works. Also, the confidence that it can work without “natural talent” or spectacular luck.

But what happens when different experts disagree on the right path? It is OK because experts disagree on the right way because they probably do not know what it should be. They can conjure up a path based on their own experience or what they have observed from a few others.

We want our users-as-learners to be resilient. Resilience means to move forward despite problems on the way. Doing the right things in the right ways make a path robust, even if it is not the optimal path.

When the performance path map works, it instills the feeling of progression. That progression also leads to the increasing resolution effect for the users.

In summary, it is never about the map.

It is about what the map reflects and enables.

It is about meaningful progress.