Thursday, June 18, 2015

The DOs and DON’Ts of Gamification Design Thinking, Part 2

The World Explorer is for you if you are interested in designing a gamification strategy for either employee or customer engagement… BUT you’re not sure where to begin.

In Part 1 of this journey, Louis and Lindsey took us on an adventure to:
Level 1: Urban Commander – Why are we playing?,
Level 2: Bonjour Mon Cher –Who are your players?  and
Level 3: Jungle Standoff – How are you keeping score?

Now it’s time for

Level 4: Saharan Crossing – How is the game played? Determine the desired actions you want your players to do. What do you want to improve? Can you identify the particular behaviors that have the potential to drive the greatest benefit to your program? Determine exactly what players need to do to get a measurable metric. (Participate in a survey, take a quiz, research additional information, answer a question, share a fact or picture, write a testimonial, fill in email address, etc.)

Keep an eye out for unintended consequences – once you are able to measure the behaviors you want to gamify, you must watch out for the unintended consequences of each of these behaviors. Cheating is one of the most common unintended consequences of gamification, so remember to build in stop points.

Level 5: Siberian Express – Why would they want to play? As you create your gamification experience, think of creative features that will appeal to a variety of intrinsic and/or extrinsic motivators of your players. Define what core drivers of motivation will be most dominant in each phase of the experience. For example, in your onboarding phase you can get your players in quickly with some simple extrinsic motivators.

The longer your players are in your game, you’ll want to design for different motivators such as:
  • Autonomy—the feeling of control of your own destiny. How can you give your player choices or control within a system that works for you to achieve your business objectives?
  • Mastery—building competence and skill. How can you help your players feel smart, capable, or that they are getting better at something?
  • Purpose—connecting with something greater than yourself. Can you use a dynamic storyline to give your players the sense that their involvement with your organization, the process, or even the course content is making them better, stronger, or more powerful?

Level 6: Forbidden Land—What keeps them in the game? How does the game reward your players and keep them in the game? Build with a variety of formal game elements or mechanics such as collecting gems or coins, points and levelling up, level challenges and leaderboards, collaboration, competition, chance, count-down clocks, second chances, cues, meaningful feedback… the possibilities are endless. This doesn’t mean that you should pile on as many of these formal game elements as possible.

Think of going on a 6-week global expedition. You have to pack wisely, only taking those things you need to take. If it doesn’t fit… it can’t go—you may need to put it on a shelf for a future adventure. Your players will become engaged users when you help them hit the “sweet spot” of motivation, reward, pain aversion, opportunity, need fulfillment and social context through a variety of well-planned game mechanics.

Next time we’ll explore Level 7: Exotic Expedition – What’s it like to play? and wrap up our global expedition with guidelines and next step strategies for you to begin your own adventure into this exotic world of gamification. Until then…

REMEMBER, there are many DANGERS you will continue to encounter on your journey – here are more DOs and DON’Ts of Gamification Design Thinking (part 2)

  • Beware of Unintended Consequences
  • Give your players them as much autonomy as you can making sure not to alienate them with a shallow, manipulative game
  • Include extrinsic motivators, but also dig deeper, and tap into their intrinsic motivations to keep them engaged with you
  • Remember:  Less is More; without a well-designed and interesting experience, mechanics add clutter and confusion
  • Develop a list of behaviors to drive and then fail to track and measure
  • Gamify a behavior that doesn’t actually provide value to your players
  • Make the extrinsic metrics or rewards the main event
  • Forget… game mechanics are visible effects —NOT the experience itself
To view the Slideshare presentation of the World Explorer Playshop that we designed and facilitated for United Airlines, please follow this link:

For more ideas on Gamification:

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