I’ve been playing around with Matt Webb’s motivations flowchart, a useful inversion of the way we typically design processes. You begin by modeling people as a state machine of motivations and goals (using research to validate our assumptions) and then distill a process from the model. You then look for the seams of the process by identifying potential halting states in a person‘s motivations and exploring ways to bend them back into the system once a halting state has been triggered. By diagramming motivations as state machines, we can evaluate how best to fulfill a person’s needs by smoothing the path between motivations, improving the stickiness of our application or process as a whole.
When using this method, I tend to think of the end states as attractors, pulling a person through the process. The end states have weight, so they exert a downward pull. In designing processes, we want to create a smooth gradient towards a desirable end state. To accomplish this, we must remove any drag or barriers that would discourage or prevent someone from flowing towards the desired end state.
For a process to be sticky (i.e., to encourage people to return), we need to explore ways to transition from the end states back into other flows or ways to convert one end state into another more desirable end state. Seams are opportunities.