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Goal Gradient Effect in UX Design

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In this article at OpenGenus, we will learn about Goal Gradient Effect in UX Design. Goal Gradient Effect gives us relation between one's approach to meet the goal and amount of work left to meet the goal. Goal Gradient Effect's application can be seen in many instances, thus making it one the most important topic in UX Design.

Table Content

  • What is Goal Gradient Effect?
  • Implementation Of Goal Gradient Effect
  • Conclusion

What is Goal Gradient Effect?

Clark Hull in 1932 stated that - "The tendency to approach a goal increases with proximity to the goal.", this is known as Goal Gradient Effect.

Some of the outcomes that can be derived from this are:

  • The rate of doing work depends upon the work left
  • The amount of work left is directly proportional to the rate of work
  • The rate of work does not depend on how much work is completed.
    When the users gets a clear idea about it's progress, he/she will be more motivated to finish the work as soon as possible. Small reward system on completion of each minor and major tasks motivates the user to finish them quicly and increases the engagement time.

Implementation of Goal Gradient Effect

Goal Gradient is used in various things in UX design.Progress-bars is a classic example of application of Goal Gradient Effect.The primary aim of using Goal Gradient Effect is to motivate the users to spend more and more time in the product.

Visualisation Of Progress

Visualising the progress of any task will subsiquently increase the Goal Grdient effect as visual milestones can be made from the progress bar ultimately motivating the user to complete the task as asoon as possible.
Very common example can be LinkedIn's Profile Completion Bar,
This motivates to user to completely set up their account as soon as possible.


Making activites fun and gamifying them increses the user engagement as due to the Goal Gradient effect the user will try to completete the as much tasks possible to get to a particular score.
The most common example are Games itself, according to your score you will get rewards and so on. This will encourage the game players to score more and more points to get the rewards, this is beacuse of Goal Gradient effect
This is the ranking system of a open arcade game which was very successful, wher eeveryone tries to go to the top tier.


Setting up montly/weekly goal is very common in most of the fitness apps, this encourages the person to work-out as much ass possible to reach the goal and the intermediate check-points reward system motivates to complete their workout throughout their planning period.



Goal Gradient Effect can be said to be one of the most important pillar of UX design, user engagement, marketing, productivity, edcucation,etc all these things are achieved on the basis of Goal Gradient Effect. Infact, every uses this.

With this article at OpenGenus, you must have the complete idea of Goal Gradient Effect in UX Design.

Goal Gradient Effect in UX Design
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