Communicate how our actions modify subsequent results
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Allow people to play interactively with information so they can adjust their behavior and future actions toward reaching a greater goal. Use numeric data to show progress and translate data into analogous visual information.
Provide measures toward letting users know how what they are doing is affecting the system. This in turn allows users to adjust their behavior and future actions toward reaching a greater goal.
Every action creates an equal opposite reaction. When reactions loop back to affect themselves, a feedback loop is created1.
There are two types of feedback loops: positive and negative. Where positive feedback amplifies system output, resulting in growth or decline, negative feedback dampens output, stabilizing the system around an equilibrium point. In game design, Fixed rewards are often used as a basis for providing positive and negative feedback loops.
Positive feedback loops are effective for creating change, but generally result in negative consequences if not moderated (or dampened) by negative feedback loops.
Negative feedback loops are effective for resisting change and thus acts as a dampening effect keeping positive feedback loops to go out of control. Negative feedback loops typically act as stabilizers.
Changing one variable in a system will affect other variables in that system and other systems. A designer must not only consider particular elements of a design, but also their relation to the design as a whole and the greater environment1.
Consider positive feedback loops to act as systems for change, and include negative feedback loops to prevent runaway behaviors that lead to system failure. Consider negative feedback loops to stabilize a system, but beware that too much negative feedback can lead to stagnation.