Gamification is the art of taking concepts from game playing, such as competition, challenge, rewards, and achievement and applying them to non-game contexts, such as customer loyalty programs, workplace motivation, or educational or health-related programs. It is a way to modify behaviour by transforming everyday tasks into engaging activities.
The idea of gamification first came to light in 2002, when game designer and designer of the 'first virtual world', Nick Pelling, coined the term to describe the application of game mechanics to everyday activities. In more recent years, the concept has continued to evolve.
At its core, gamifying a task makes it more engaging and motivating for the user; it rewards users for accomplishments, and encourages and challenges them to strive for success. By introducing game mechanics and motivating users through rewards, the goal of the activity is achieved much more effectively.
The most common ways that gamification is used are: reinforcing desired behaviours; improving user engagement; unwavering user commitment; providing a way to measure user progress and behaviour; and providing immediate feedback.
Let’s take Health and Fitness applications as an example. A gamified application could incentivise healthy behaviour such as setting goals and reaching them by offering rewards such as virtual points, badges or goal tracking. For example, a user might receive an achievement badge for completing a 10-mile run.
Implementing a gamification system can greatly increase engagement levels and user motivation. Users are rewarded for engaging with your program, and they are rewarded in a way that encourages them to interact with the system more. For example, the user might be motivated by a leaderboard that tracks their performance compared to other users. The user might also receive rewards for completing special tasks, or for completing daily activities.
When setting up a gamification system, one should consider the following guidelines:
• The purpose of the gamification should be made clear. What is the goal of the system and what is the expected outcome?
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• Identify user goals and design rewards accordingly. Establish rewards which users will be motivated to pursue.
• Make sure the user experience is enjoyable and rewarding. Incorporate visuals, animations, and audio to enhance engagement.
• Make sure rewards are achievable and significant. Make sure users are able to reach their goals without being overwhelmed by the task.
• Ensure the user journey is clear and understandable. Make sure that the steps in the process are easy to follow and understand.
• Introduce competition. Introduce leaderboards or other metrics that allow users to compare progress and progress with others.
• Create incentives that keep users coming back. Change up rewards, create new challenges, or introduce new levels to keep users engaged and motivated.
• Recognize when users are struggling and provide support. Provide help if the user needs it, to ensure the user gets the most out of the system.
The right gamification system can transform user experience and increase engagement with your program or task. With the help of the guidelines and best practices outlined above, you can create a system that will have users racing to achieve their goals.