Use and effect of motivational elements in user instructions: What we do and don't know

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Literature shows that there are two views on how user instructions should stimulate the users’ motivation to read the instructions to be able to work with the accompanying device, system or program. Advocates of the first view state that users will be motivated by correct instructions that enable them to perform tasks effectively and efficiently. Promoters of the second view think that facilitating correct task performance is not enough to motivate users. They consider it a function of user instructions to facilitate positive experiences while performing tasks, and they expect that adding motivational elements would be beneficial. We conducted four studies to investigate the effects of motivational elements in user instructions. These studies were based on the ARCS model, which provides strategies focusing on four objectives – Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction – to make instructions motivational. We measured the effects of motivational elements focusing on those objectives, on usability and on the users’ motivation and confidence. We particularly studied elements that were expected to promote confidence (e.g. personal stories). In general, the results of the studies show that confidence-enhancing elements positively affect the effectiveness of task performance and users’ persistence in trying to complete a task.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfessional Communication Conference (IEEE IPCC)
Place of PublicationVancouver, Canada
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2013
EventIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013 - University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 15 Jul 201317 Jul 2013

Publication series



ConferenceIEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013
Abbreviated titleIPCC


  • METIS-298019
  • IR-87410

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