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Below is a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" type game show parody used as a practice quiz at the end of an online course, before the student takes their final exam.

screen shot of game parody with question text, four spots for answers and a list of winnings on the right with dollar signs next to each number

While it's obvious that this is supposed to be a parody of a game show, the title is "Who Wants to be a dynamically generated course title Expert?", not "Who Wants to Win Tons of Money" or whatever.

Since it's about being an expert, should I leave the "$" symbols in, or remove them and simply have a score between 0 and 1,000,000? I thought nothing of this at first, but now that I've realized the premise changes a bit with the titles, I've been second guessing whether or not the cash symbol affects the UX.

Weighing up the options myself, I figured:

  1. the symbol could add to the UX, helping to give the illusion that this is a game OR
  2. the symbol could make the UX slightly awkward because this is a multiple choice quiz essentially, with the premise, created by the title, of determining whether or not the user is an expert. The idea for the specific game show style came first, the title came second as an easy, generic title.
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Whats the question ? –  Mervin Johnsingh Jul 1 '13 at 19:40
    
@Mervin "Since it's about being an expert, should I leave the "$" symbols in, or remove them and simply have a score between 0 and 1,000,000?" –  Eric Jul 1 '13 at 19:51
1  
Parodies are also called "rip-offs" in some quarters (and may lead to legal liability). If you aren't giving out money, don't use the symbols (again, another potential legal hot spot with false advertising, lottery charges and all that). –  Deer Hunter Jul 1 '13 at 20:24
    
Thanks for the input. Sounds like the best bet is to get rid of the cash, and steer clear of direct parodies. –  Eric Jul 1 '13 at 21:26
    
I think it's more awkward that the numbers are not right aligned. Whether it's money or points, it will be easier for users to see the increases in value from one to the next with adjusted alignment. –  Karen Jul 2 '13 at 12:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't think it's very consequential either way, but if it was me, I would do something like "+1,000,000 xp"; 'xp' being an acronym for "experience points" in a lot of games.

That said, I think the redundancy of your logo might be of greater consequence. I would take out the second "Who wants to be a" and make the "Cyber 200 ADL Expert" text larger.

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There's an article by Vohs, Mead and Goode (2006) called Merely Activating the Concept of Money Changes Personal and Interpersonal Behavior. The title tells the whole story, really. Putting the idea of money in people's heads, without necessarily giving them any, changes their social behavior. Specifically, it makes them less social, and more likely to work hard.

Extrapolating from that, I'd say that within your game, playing for pretend money will cause people to try harder than playing for experience points. It seems silly, since the user (hopefully) knows that they're not getting any real money, but the conceit of the game show allows them to work a little harder.

So I'd say stick with the dollar signs, and follow through with it. Tell them how much they've won. You can even let them keep a fake account so that every test lets them build their fortune.

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