Chapter 16. What Are Motivations?

This lesson is about the most overlooked and the most powerful psychological element in UX: what users want.

The last lesson explained that emotions are reactions based on whether someone gains or loses their goals.

But what goals? Motivations. That’s what.

Motivations are built-in psychological needs. Shit we want. Some are physical—you need them to survive—and some exist only in your mind. All are important. Motivations can fall anywhere between conscious experience and subconscious experience.

You can gain or lose each motivation, and you are motivated to do both. That will become very useful in UX, when you learn about conditioning.

Motivations are relative. That means it’s not about how much you get, it’s about how much more you get compared to what you have or what other people have.

In my book The Composite Persuasion, I outline 14 things that all people, everywhere, want. At least six of those motivations can be useful to you in (digital) UX and three of those are the foundation of gamification and social networks, like Facebook or Twitter. When you know how to use them, human motivations are UX magic in a bottle.

The 14 Universal Motivations

So, what are these 14 motivations?

Avoid death

Obviously, dying is bad. Evolution figured that out, too. You are motivated to live as long as possible (gain) and avoid anything life-threatening (loss), like heights, or fire, or snakes. Sometimes people commit suicide, but only when one of the other motivations ...

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