Boosting users’ safety online: Microtutorials
This is a discussion paper by Ofcom’s Behavioural Insight team focused on what we learned from an online randomised controlled trial testing the impact of microtutorials on users’ behaviour when reporting content.
The team ran a trial to examine the impact of “boosts” on user behaviour. They did this by designing and testing three types of “Microtutorial” on a mocked-up video sharing platform with research participants. These microtutorials included a passive, static one with annotated images, a voiced-over video walking through the platform, and an interactive guide where users had to perform tasks related to each feature.
All microtutorials increased reporting of potentially harmful content. With no microtutorial, reporting was 4%. The static microtutorial increased reporting to 9%. The video microtutorial increasing reporting to 16% and the interactive microtutorial had the biggest impact increasing to 23%. When users were asked specifically to report a potentially harmful video, all who went through a microtutorial were more likely to report, most of all from the interactive microtutorial. They also increased engagement overall with features of the platform. Importantly too, the effects of the tutorial did not increase reporting of neutral content, only the potentially harmful.