I'm working on a project that has me a bit stumped. Thanks for any help you can provide!


I'm working on the interface that is shown to a student before they take a quiz. Students are given two attempts to take a quiz to try to improve their grade. We use Gain and Loss framing in the hope to incentivize students to study more between quiz attempts.


The UI that I would use for influencing the student's behavior is at odds with the usability of the interface, and I don't know what to do!

For example: to encourage the desired behavior, for the student to study more, I would most likely place the "Study More" button last and in the primary button pattern of blue.

UX focused on behavior modification

However, for usability (I'm making the assumption that most students just want to start their quiz), I would put "Start Quiz" as the last button and in the primary button pattern of blue.

UX focused on usability

Any recommendations? or guiding principals? Also, recommendations on how to validate with users is helpful too. I'm not even sure how to go about testing this scenario.

  • Welcome to ux.se Kate. Our guiding rule for questions is that they should present a general UX question which would be useful for other people - not just the original poster. Right now your question is more a "review this for me" type question than a specific UX problem. Spend some time trying to break down your problem into something general, and then ask that. If you don't understand, please let me know and I'll do my best to help. – JohnGB Feb 21 '19 at 8:50
  • Just out of interest and to help with those that want to contribute answers, what kind of feedback is provided to the students (other than the score) after they complete the test for the first time? Are they shown where they went well or not so well? Is it clear that they only have one more attempt left? Sometimes it is where and when you provide this information (i.e. at the point of need) that can make the most difference to the outcome that you want to achieve. Perhaps by the time they get to pressing the button it would be hard to change their mind? – Michael Lai Feb 23 '19 at 22:55

A T-shirt with Don't Assume print on it

The first rule of UX:

Don't assume.

The second rule of UX:

Don't assume.

The third rule of UX:

Don't repeat yourself.

Confused? So am I!


  • What is the user goal here? To get done and over with it or to score a good mark?
  • What does getting a good mark means for a user (is it formative or summative assessment)?
  • Are results public (The principle of consistency - active, public, voluntary)?
  • What is the cost involved in 'studying more'?
  • Why do YOU (taking the 'business' role here) care that they study more?

In case you don't know

A baby in a don't know pose

  • To begin with, you don't have to have a CTA. You can just have both buttons styled the same.
  • Run a pilot, with A/B testing and see what users say. Doesn't have to be a rigorous experiment - you'll be surprised how many insight with gorilla testing.

You can do better

SMART goal poster

A famous motivation principle:

People are more likely to act on the concrete, not abstract.

  • That's why you tell children "Let's start by picking up this doll" rather than "Let's tidy up".
  • That's why you are much more likely to start writing a blog if you say to yourself "I'm going to time-box it, giving it 20 minutes".
  • "I'm going to spend 5 minutes now to go through my inbox".
  • "I'm going to write 2 paragraphs today".

Which one gives more incentive:

  • Study more
  • Give me 5 more minutes to revise.

A Countdown

If you really want to go to town, how about:

Attempt 2 will start in 60 {countdown} seconds. {Button:} Give me 8 more minutes to revise.

Let's see anyone resisting this!

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