Problem summary

When sharing the same environment, we'll strive to attain things that cannot be shared


  • Use to energise your target audience into concerted action

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Leverage our natural drive to compete to motivate users to adopt a target attitude or behavior. Competiition energizes and prompts participants to invest time and effort as they care about the outcome. In many situations, no extrinsic motivator (reward) is need to motivated as the competition in itself is both energizing and motivating.

  • Boost engagement. Being in a competition, its participants focus on their outcome will match competitors. This in turn boosts their engagement and activity.
  • Incentivise self-improvement. Competition remains a great mechanism to provide incentives for self-improvement as achieving the best outcome often requires introspection.
  • Mind the group. If used among individuals, be careful about recognizing one person at the expense of the group.


Competition is a great mechanism to provide incentives for self-improvement. Consider what people might be competing for within your system: attention or resources? Competition can be among individuals or groups, and goals can be opposing, shared, or even complementary.

Competition motivates engagement in two ways: internally, by utilising our urge to understand and think, and externally by utilizing our need for social status.


Be careful about recognizing one person too much at the expense of the group.


1 Six Patterns for Persuasion in Online Social Networks PDF

2 Get mental notes: Competition

3 Competition at

4 Weiksner, Fogg, Liu (2008), Six Patterns for Persuasion in Online Social Networks, PERSUASIVE 2008: Persuasive Technology, pp 151-163

5 B.J. Fogg (2003), Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Francisco

6 Competition at Learning Loop

User Interface Design Patterns