What to think of when designing a gamified experience?

Gamification draws a lot of parallels with user experience design. In our company processes we definitely use a blend of both the field of game design, pure gamification and user experience design techniques. Maybe due to this link we also believe it is important to consult the end-users at various points in the design process and iterate the designs accordingly.

Typically, when we ask clients and their users to design a gamified experience, we look to cover the following four stages:

  1. Attracting people into your gamified journey
  2. Assisting them in taking their first step
  3. Nurturing their activity for the long haul
  4. Deciding on the end-game

In each of these stages, we ask clients to determine the meaningful touchpoint. A meaningful touchpoint is a point at which the end-user may decide to play or not. In most business processes these are quite obvious. Take recruitment for example, in the attracting candidates to your interview process, the meaningful touchpoint could include: the places where they first find out about a potential job, which could be a company website, a referral from an employee, social mediate etc.

When designing an experience, we ask the question, how do you want to make them feel and what do you want to motivate them to do. In our recruitment example, it may be making them feel like this is the kind of company I would love to work for and then motivating them to search for open opportunities. You may say a lot of this is about employer branding for the long term and indeed your brand will play a role. Targeted approaches on social media and through existing employees, may also prove effective when you are new to the branding game.

Meaningful follow-on touch points should reinforce the initial feelings and also answer the potential feeling of action remorse. So the actual recruitment form or game, should reflect the initial feelings. I know from my own career, that one one occasion I became really excited about a company, which as soon as I entered the recruitment form filling sequence and the amount of profiling tests I had to fill out, basically turned me off completely and I ended up turning down a great offer, because something didn’t feel right. Any time I have gone against this feeling, it turned out a misfit.

Basically the experience, you design should weed out the candidates you don’t want and keep those you do want engaged all along. It is a process of trial and error until your target audience confirms you have a good formula. In that case you keep running with it until the same audience starts to give indicators that it is becoming stale or used.



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