Below is a summary of the original post, found here:
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Originally written by Stefan Klocek on October 20, 2008

…Users enjoy the satisfaction of achieving their goals. User goals help us focus our design on solving meaningful problems for the user. If we design with the user’s goals in mind, in the best case we will help them achieve their goals, at worst we stand out of the way.

Goals are defined as the "state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve". Goals are what a person wants to do, achieve, or become.

…Motivations are the drivers behind setting and pursuing goals. Motivation is why someone wants to do something. Motivation is what arouses and sustains action toward a desired goal. It gives purpose and direction to behavior.

…A survey of the major motivational theories reveals a few commonalities. Needs, desires and wants are the sources of motivation. Motivation directs behavior toward increasing, decreasing, or maintaining a specific state. Dr. William Huitt’s list of motivational needs provides an overview of all of the major theories. I have distilled this list into the essentials:

People are motivated to increase or develop positive or good things. People are also motivated to decrease or eliminate negative or bad things. Finally people are motivated to maintain certain types of status quo.

Increasing goodness

  • Understanding
  • Pleasure
  • Control
  • Certainty
  • Inclusion (social)
  • Pleasant consequences (reward)
  • Achievements
  • Likelihood of success
  • Solutions to problems
  • Security

Decreasing badness

  • Confusion
  • Pain
  • External restriction/control
  • Uncertainty
  • Deficiency
  • Unpleasant consequences (punishment)
  • Threats or risks
  • Negative physical sensations (hunger, thrist, etc)


  • Balance
  • Homeostasis
  • Attention
  • Optimism
  • Enthusiasm
  • Control
  • Self-efficacy

——————- My thoughts ——————-

As UX Designers we must always think first and foremost of the user and their needs, wants, goals, and motivations. Stefan summarizes some chief motivations for us to consider when designing a solution. Starting on a current project that monitors your computers software and notifies you whether or not you are out of date would suggest motivations of understanding (for the less computer literate), pleasure (for the geeks that enjoy helping their friends), and pleasant consequences (or reward for both, even if the reward is entirely a different experience for each). These users would not want to be confused, experience pain, or feel punished for keeping their computer software up to date. Thus in our user profiles and later in our wireframes we must explore how to increase pleasure while decreasing pain. With an end result of self sufficiency and enjoyment. Keeping your computer up to date should be “fun”. By understanding the background of our users we can develop the online version of the application to be clean, simple (with advanced features for those that need it), and enjoyable to use.

Updated 12/10/08: User testing has confirmed our assumptions.