DEsign for MOtivation

A design tool for building communities and platforms

What is the DEMO tool

DEMO is a design tool for building motivation mechanisms in communities and online platforms. DEMO offers a structured approach to design for motivation and to increase user participation, engagement or contribution. By applying gamification and other motivational mechanisms, DEMO helps multidisciplinary teams to design/ develop a motivation scheme. DEMO consists of two basic components, the template and the cards, and one optional, the roles.


This is a design and information space. It consists of 4 steps: objective, user, experience and motivation. The template should be printed in a large paper format (A0 or A1) and support the structure and flow of a workshop.


The cards include both general and specific concepts, with the aim to inspire a group discussion. Four card categories aim to clarify further each step of the template: people, methods and tools, resources and expectations.


The roles aim to engage participants, with different perspectives and backgrounds, in a role-playing process. The roles are optional and include: the facilitator, the designer, the developer and the manager.


Design for motivation can be defined as a “design practice focused on the activation of human motives, with short or long-term effects, to perform an action” [1]. Motivation has been studied in various fields and contexts, such as in social psychology and organisational science. One way to apply design practice for motivation is by using DEMO. The design of DEMO is influenced by motivation theory and other design-related practices.

Motivation Theories

A common classification of motivation theories refers to the two primary types of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Self-determination theory encompasses both types of motivations on a continuum from intrinsic to extrinsic [2]. Examples of motivation theories are: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs [3], expectancy value theory [4], and social-based theories [5]. In practice, the application of motivation theories in designing for motivation is discussed within the fields of persuasive design, game design and gamification.


Gamification refers to "the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts" [6]. Typically, game elements include competition, conflict, rewards, resources, time and levels. Various theoretical foundations are employed by gamification, such as self-determination theory, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and situated motivational affordance [7]. Gamification techniques are applied to leverage behavior and desires for competition, achievement, status, socializing, learning, altruism, mastery, self-expression, or closure.

Design Thinking

Design thinking (DT) refers to design-specific cognitive activities that designers apply during the process of designing [8]. DT shares common methods and tools with other fileds, like service design, interaction design and user experience design, for the development of products and services. DT methods and tools support designers in all phases of development. Some examples of DT methods and tools are: personas, journey map, storyboards, interviews, business model canvas.

[1] Chasanidou, D., and Karahasanovic, A. (2016) Let’s DEsign for MOtivation (DEMO). Game and Learning Alliance International Conference (GALA), Utrecht, Netherlands (in press).
[2] Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L. (2000) Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology 25(1), 54-67.
[3] Maslow, A.(1943) A theory of human motivation. Psychological review 50(4), 370-396.
[4] Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. (2000) Expectancy–value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary educational psychology 25(1), 68-81.
[5] Festinger, L. (1954) A theory of social comparison processes. Human relations 7(2), 117-140.
[6] Deterding, D., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., Nacke, L. (2011) From game design elements to gamefulness: Defining "gamification". 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference. pp. 9–15.
[7] Seaborn, K., Fels, D. (2015) Gamification in theory and action: A survey. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 74, 14-31.
[8] Visser, W. (2006) The cognitive artifacts of designing, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

How to use it

Download all the DEMO material (section "Download") and follow the process to use the DEMO effectively:

  • Preparation phase

    Organize a meeting with your team and discus on key aspects of motivation: what is your need, who is your subject, what means do you need to achieve it, examples or interesting cases. Invite people with different backgrounds in the meeting and introduce the DEMO tool. Use some time to experiment with it (use the DEMO guide) and introduce some relevant examples to the team (Cards with examples).

  • Conduct a workshop

    The workshop aims to conclude with design(s) for motivation using the DEMO tool to clarify or set the key aspects of motivation for the targeted community or platform. The team works with the DEMO tool in an iterative process, using two levels of description. The multidisciplinarity of the team support the appropriateness of the proposed designs.

  • Results and evaluation

    The outcome of the workshop, the design(s) and the ideas, should be further evaluated and applied. Evaluation metrics will assist the formulation of the final solution.

  • Be Part
    Of Our

    Share your story

    (A) Take a look in the "Case studies" section and send us a similar photo with a short description of your case. (B) It is important to have your opinion. Take a minute to let us know what do you think about the DEMO tool.

Application of the DEMO

See the previous cases and send us a description of your case.

HCI group

Usability testing

UX and usability group

Usability testing

Design and UX group

Usability testing

Try it out

Download all the DEMO material to try it out.

DEMO Guide




Send us your feedback from your experience with the DEMO tool

Contact Us


Contact name:
Dimitra Chasanidou, Post-doc researcher at NTNU, Dept. of Computer Science

Oslo, Norway

This research was funded by the Norwegian Research Council through the Center for Service Innovation.