Designing for Temporal Motivation
Suh, Minhyang Mia
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Time is an inseparable factor in human behavior, affecting how people think and what they value. The temporal dynamics of human perception has been a long-standing topic of interest in a broad range of disciplines including, but not limited to, sociology, economics, psychology, marketing, behavioral science, HCI, and CSCW. However, there is a critical unexplored design space of time – how time could be addressed as a tailoring strategy and what is meant by the right time when it comes to human motivation. In this dissertation, drawing upon Construal Level Theory (CLT), I investigate how the temporal aspects of a target affect people’s motivation to participate in the target behavior and how we might tailor technology design to address temporal motivation. I focus on the three dimensions of temporality: temporal distance, duration and (uncertain) deadline. To examine temporal distance as a tailoring strategy, I first gained an understanding of what drives motivation as time goes by through a series of field and online experiments. I then designed and tested three design strategies that address temporal motivations to increase intention to participate in events on social media. In my exploration of duration as a time-based strategy, I studied how people differ their financial wellness goals and the related behaviors by the goal-durations—focusing on their tool use practices through interviews. Lastly, to explore how to increase motivation when there is no fixed deadline to a task, I explored how individuals perceive an earthquake and earthquake preparedness behaviors, and what might potentially motivate them to act upon a precautionary measure by leveraging the theoretical premise of CLT. Drawing together my findings across these studies, I offer theoretical contributions to deepen our understanding of motivation by time and practical considerations for designing technology to address the dynamics of temporal motivation.