In the three previous posts of this series, NogginLabs Founder and the primary instructional architect of Mindful Mood Balance for Professionals (MMBPro), Brian Knudson, discussed the reasons why motivation is important to MMBPro, how “mindful moments” encourage participants to complete the whole program, and the sense of accomplishment and meaning gained through achieving levels and earning badges. In this final post in the series, Brian discusses the role of notifications in motivation.

How do notifications play a motivating role in MMBPro?

Brian: One thing we know and I think everyone knows is that anything that you do to grab users’ attention isn’t going to work if they don't log in. What we built was a companion app that allows notifications to come through without having your email address, without emailing you and bothering you.

Why a companion app? How does it work?

Brian: The reason we call it a companion app is that it’s not the entire MMBPro on your phone; it's just the practices. It's easier to do the home practice that might be assigned to you. It won't let you do home practices that are further along than you are in the course, so it kind of guides you that way too. More importantly, it provides notifications. That was the core reason behind the application.

Why are notifications important?

Brian: We have to be able to talk to you. The notifications have varying layers of complexity. They're simply reinforcement that says, "You're doing well, keep going." And it’s a reminder that we still exist. What we found when we researched why people were dropping out is they're just very busy. People have very busy lives and you forget about it. It's not that there's anything wrong with it; it's just you've got other things going on. We decided to send push messages that are very gentle but also intelligent. Some are time-based, like if you haven't logged in in a certain amount of time, it will tell you, "Hey, you haven't logged in. This can be useful to your daily life. Sometimes it can take no more than a minute or two."

Notifications are about really driving users into the content so we can get them back in and keep them going. Without this, I think the program actually would be a failure because you could still lose users. If I have to wait for you to log in in order to talk to you, to motivate you with mindful moments and badges, I'm going to lose you. I have to be able to talk to you when you're in the midst of your busy life.