The Progression Dynamic works on our compulsion to complete things. The user’s success in completing chain/repeated behavior is displayed and measured to compel the user to complete the process.
This can be achieved using progress bars, percentages, keeping tally of the number needed to reach a set goal (a common example of this is loyalty cards for F&B establishments – 2 more stamps to that free Triple Scoop Chocolate Explosion) and even framing behaviors as quests with level-up achievements.
1. Every RPG in existence. At least 90% of quests in RPGs will ask you to ‘Go forth and slaughter 15 Beasts of Many Teeth and I shall reward you with this Dagger of Extra Pointess’. As you slay the monsters, a helpful little counter will appear to remind you that you have x number of monsters left. As you complete objectives and kill things, you gain experience points that add up towards a level-up, thus giving you a sense of progress throughout the game.
2. Actually, almost every video game genre (even MOBA) employs progression dynamic to a certain extent. Name any game and I will point out at least one example of use for you. You can see this especially in casual social games like the ones on Facebook.
3. This game. It is the embodiment of the progression dynamic. The representation of progress is not only visual; it is integral to playing the game. I love it. Just give it a try. It’s kinda adorable and cool and now, educational too!
1. Mint.com. Progression is used to complete profile creation, set and keep to budgets, and tracks goals.
1. School. To keep you in school for the entire term, you level up by passing tests and progress to the following year. This is a little more obvious in tertiary education where you need to complete a set amount of academic units to reach your goal of graduation (and continue paying school fees).
2. Also, employee remuneration and retention.
3. Loyalty cards. Most obvious in the ‘collect stamps’ type of loyalty cards that most F&B establishments use. Talking about loyalty cards, let’s look at a trick that will give your users a little push in completing any appointed quest. It’s the Endowed Progress Effect.
Picture a shop that sells muffins. Now imagine they give out loyalty cards to their customers where a single stamp is given for each muffin purchased.
Scenario A: Get an empty card and collect 8 stamps to receive a free muffin
Scenario B: Get a card already loaded with 2 stamps and collect 10 stamps to receive a free muffin
Which would you think generates a better response? In most trials, Scenario B outperformed Scenario A. The idea is that if your user feels like they have already made some progress towards a goal, they will then become more committed towards continued effort towards achieving the goal. This is why you usually get an additional free stamp when you receive your loyalty card.
Because you are particularly good-looking today, you might want to read more about endowed loyalty here (the most often quoted paper about endowment loyalty), or a very light article about how Valve uses this trick with Steam.
This is kind of related but different. One way to placate your users especially during waiting periods is to include something that depicts progress. For example, loading bars, traffic lights, Domino’s Pizza Tracker, and countdown timers on coffee machines calms the user because it reassures her that ‘something’s being done, don’t worry’. Similarly, pressing a button at the crossing, the close door button on the lift, etc, makes us happier because ‘there I did something, they are working on it’ or ‘I have this under control’.