Why understanding the process is key for gamification design

Gamification design is often applied to a business process and in order to come up with an engaging design, we need to understand the process in quite high-level detail. Explaining why understanding the process is key for good gamification design is not always easy.

Our clients will on occasion question why we need to know the process when really we are re-designing it in any case or just touching on one aspect of it. For example in corporate learning, we would want to know how a person finds out about a new course, how they sign up and how they then consume the content. In recruitment, for example, we would want to know how are people attracted into the recruitment process today, which includes where do they advertise and then we also want to understand the individual steps in the recruitment process.

Understanding the process and what then happens to the individual at each point is great source material for a narrative or theme of gamification. If for example there is no way a person will find out about a new course or a new position, as in the uptake of courses and applications are limited, then we would need to explore this further. If they are entering the process but they are dropping out later, for example, they sign up for the course or submit an application, but that is where the engagement stops, then we need to know why this happens.

What we also very often find is that what is advertised on websites, is not or no longer how the process works for most transactions. In one way, you have raised an expectation and when that isn’t met you lose the interaction potential to impress and keep the person moving forward. There may be good reasons why the process is different, so again we need to understand.

If a recruitment or course enrollment process takes a bit of time, we want to build that into our gamification design. If a specific test is required to enter, again we want to know and experience that to see what this entails and potentially build it into our storyline.

The key for us in understanding your process is to be in a position to identify meaningful touchpoints. These are points in the process where you can delight or depress and if you don’t actively take charge of those may impact positively or negatively on the people engaging with your process. There can be simple solutions, such as adding a game mechanic at that point or more complex ones where a pre-process narrative or game-like experience pre-warns you of what happens.

The thing to always be aware of is that gamification means that an individual stays in the process, whether that is learning, recruitment, buying, etc. As soon as we invite them out of the process and into a game, we are designing a serious game. Linking a serious game back to the process takes a bit of effort and needs to still make sense for it to be included. Our starting point for gamification is always process awareness, followed by meaningful touchpoints and then user research.

We also use surveys, interviews and workshops then, to back up our findings so we understand the full circle view from applicants, employees and administrators involved at the various stages. We may use all of what we find or small parts, depending on what we feel will make the most sense to motivate the end-user into action.





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