Gamification made easy
The definition of Gamification is: “The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.”
“gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun”
This is an online perspective. The most basic use of gamification is what my grandmother did when I was a young boy. Whenever we celebrated a birthday at her house, she placed a cork in the toilet bowl (to aim at) to prevent urine spills. Nowadays you can even buy special toilet stickers with football goals or flies. According to Gabe Zichermann, one of the world’s greatest experts on Gamification, it is all about: FUN, FRIENDS, FEEDBACK. We can transfer the three F’s of Gamification to your concepts to strengthen your propositions. Let’s discuss the three F’s in detail.
The first F is the most difficult one. What’s fun for one person, is boring for another. But in general the design has to put a smile on your face. ‘It has to smile’ is a strong expression of a business partner I used to work with. Add some fun to your proposition to get more commitment from your users. A classic example are the piano stairs at a metro station in Stockholm. Please take a look at this video on YouTube to see what I mean. In this case passers-by are encouraged to use the stairs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw
Number 22 at the list of 47 game mechanics is supporting this: Fun Once, Fun Always. The Definition is: “The concept that an action is enjoyable to repeat all the time. Generally, this means simple actions. There’s also often a limitation to the total level of enjoyment of the action”. This mechanism works at “Tikkie”, a Dutch App to request for a payment by sending a WhatsApp-message. When you made the transaction, a funny video comes up to thank you for the remittance. It’s a good mechanism but be sure to think carefully of the limitation. There are some examples where adding fun didn’t work out.
When we talk about friends, and from a broader perspective the social context for our gamified system, there are some interesting gaming mechanics to support this: Game Mechanism number 41 “Social Fabric of Games” is defined as: “The idea that people like one another better after they’ve played games with them, have a higher level of trust and a great willingness to work together”. A great example is the way people play online Bingo. This can only be successful when you offer, beside the game itself, the possibility to chat with each other during the online Bingo sessions.
Game mechanism number 27 ‘Micro Leader-boards’ is defined as: “The rankings of all individuals in a micro-set. Often great for distributed game dynamics where you want many micro-competitions or desire to induce loyalty. Example: Be the top scorers at Joe’s bar this week and get a free appetizer”. By using this game mechanism in your digital concept, you will extent both time people spend on your site, and social engagement for your proposition.
The definition of Feedback is: “Feedback is the process of giving users information on how they’re doing. This feedback is almost always designed as part of the gamified system you’ve built, but ideally should speak to their larger-scale journey to mastery”. The major tool of Feedback is the #1 gaming mechanism: Achievement. This mechanism is obligated. Without it, we’re not even talking about a game. Example: a badge, a level, a reward, points, really anything defined as a reward can be a reward.
There are numerous examples of achievements, but my all-time favourite is the badge of being the Major of a POI (point of interest), achieved when you are the first to check in at the location in the App Foursquare for a number of times. By the way, the complete badging system at Foursquare was great (e.g. the Boat Rat badge, being on a boat for a number of times).
Gamification can support every kind of business to generate more engagement with your users/customers/buyers. Even when you are on a market square selling cheese. A post on Facebook with a picture of a big pile of cheese, with the question “How much does this cheese weight?”, together the phrase “The winner will receive the cheese.”, is easily made. Every reaction generates engagement.
Please contact us to use gamification in your line of business. Gaming mechanism “Free Lunch” applies here, so let’s enjoy and have some fun
Sources used for this Blogpost are closely related to the concept of ‘gamification‘ and thus all of them are considered relevant to the scope of this blog. For the easiness of reading, we didn’t used bookmarks in the text, but putted reference text in brackets.