Graphics or text what is more useful in gamification?

Top tips on using graphics in gamification design

a picture can say a 1000 words - the importance of graphics in gamification design

The saying a picture tells a thousand words is often used to describe the impact a graphical image can have over and above words. In our current media landscape, the visual and moving image is well and truly represented. Social media platforms Instagram and Pinterest are strictly image focused and give rise to memes and gif’s as well as allowing everyone to be a star on their own profile. Smartphones have in their own become a combination between a mini-computer and a camera with some ability to add special effects to your images. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that visual media is on the increase.

For business communication, we still often see the written word as the main way to communicate. Although it is no longer rare to receive a business email with some emoticons built in. Marketing and advertising are the core exceptions to this statement, who have always had to rely on visuals for impact. The combination of the trend towards visual and decreasing attention spans is giving rise to an increased demand for visual imagery in gamification design as well. I would even go as far as saying that some enterprise tools are starting to look more like a game environment than a traditional computer application (thank goodness!).

Tip 1: Consider your platform

The first choices that you need make in graphical gamification design is to understand through what media your people will be accessing your design. Enterprise computers don’t have the same specifications as the latest gamer computergamer PC in most workplaces, which by default means image sizing impacts the load factor of your application. Nobody will forgive you if they have to wait for your images to load in a world where time is money. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative or go all the way to 3D, it just means you need to keep file size and load in mind.
Graphical elements often have to sit within enterprise applications, so flat 2D images often work well for that reason.

Mobile devices for workers on the move often are the main mode of communication whilst travelling for work. Gamification can still work on the device but in this case, your maximum stretch is 2.5D when you want to create a 3D feel but only from one perspective. If you are graphics into mobile apps the request typically is to make them flat and interesting without needing additional perspective. Using potentially augmented reality as your additional dimension would make sense in some gamification work as long as it doesn’t compromise privacy and Pokemon go on phonesecurity regulations. This was highlighted by players of Pokemon Go sharing often secure locations where Pokemon had been hiding.

Pay attention to the needs of your gamification design for graphics and then the type of platform it will be deployed on. Web applications in offices are most common and in this scenario, you can have some freedom in the range of graphics used, you could even go as far as a virtual world as long as no firewalls need to be climbed. If the majority of the gamification design sits within existing enterprise applications or on mobile devices then I would recommend sticking with trusted 2D imagery which can still create the impact you want.

Tip 2: Consider the emotion

Images can conjure up emotions and knowing from the outset what you want to convey is important. It will drive the choice of colours, the shapes and the kinds of graphics that would also not be appropriate.

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